Feb. 5, 2019, Port of Bellingham Report

In Local Government, News by CTNW News

Citizen Journalism: Port of Bellingham Commissioner’s Meeting Report for Feb. 5th, 2019

Port Commissioners addressed the impacts to Lummi Treaty Rights from historical changes to Bellingham Bay, Drayton Harbor and cleanup of the I&J Waterway Site; these were the main points of interest at the Port’s regular meeting on Feb. 5, 2019.

The public meeting was called to order at 3:30 pm and immediately recessed to a closed executive session so commissioners could discuss personnel pursuant to RCW 42.30.110 (1) (g). The meeting reconvened at 4:30 pm. Board President Ken Bell, Vice President Bobby Briscoe and Secretary Michael Shepard were all present. No formal action was taken during the closed executive session.

Link to Feb. 5, 2019Port of Bellingham meeting agenda

Video of the full February 5, 2019 Port Commission Meeting

Public Comments –

During the public comment period, Judith Akins with the Blue Green Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County, spoke about the need for affordable housing on the waterfront. She also talked about the Clean Buildings of Washington Act (HB 1257) which would allow owners of multifamily buildings to apply for grants for buildings that use green building standards.

Video starting at Judith Akin’s comments

Consent Agenda: Approvals on a 3-0 vote were the following:

Action Items –

First Item: Approve the Implementation Agreement No. 2 of the Intergovernmental Framework Agreement between the Lummi Nation and the Port of Bellingham, and increase the Infrastructure Division’s operating budget by $120,000.

The proposed agreement is intended to address impacts to Lummi Treaty Rights from historical changes to tidal, subtitle and shorelines in Bellingham Bay and Drayton Harbor. It details specific responsibilities and obligations that the Port and the Lummi Nation have agreed will mitigate the impacts to the Lummi Nation from the construction, existence, use, maintenance, and repair of these historical changes. These responsibilities and obligations include:

  • The Port agrees to provide a credit of $120,000 for Lummi Nation Fishers to use for Lummi fishing vessels in Squalicum and Blaine Harbor marinas each year in perpetuity, as long as the Port owns and/or operates these marinas;
  • The Port will permanently forgive up to $220,000 of past due charges incurred by Lummi Fishers;
  • The Port grants access and use of Port boat launch facilities to Lummi Nation Fishers with no launch fee;
  • The Port will allow the Lummi Nation to install salmon and shellfish enhancement facilities on mutually agreed upon locations on Port property;
  • The Port will work with the Lummi Nation to develop boater education materials on tribal treaty rights;
  • The Lummi Nation will withdraw objections to existing Port permit applications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
  • The Lummi Nation will not oppose future permits related to the existence, repair, dredging, maintenance etc. in order to utilize historical structures;

Brian Gouran, the Port’s Director of Environmental Programs, said the Port and Lummi Nation have a long-standing and good working relationship but have had many disagreements over the years. In 2009, the Port entered into an Intergovernmental Framework Agreement with the Lummi Nation to “provide a framework to resolve past disagreements and jointly pursue future opportunities.” Gouran said this Implementation Agreement, which is the second under the Framework Agreement, represents a “significant and very positive step forward in the relationship between the Port and the Lummi Nation.”

Port Commissioner Briscoe said he’s very glad this agreement has come to fruition. “I think we’ve turned a corner with the Lummi Nation and I’m really glad to see that,” Briscoe said. “We’ve reached a level of trust I believe between the Port and Lummi Nation and the people of Whatcom County that’s going to be very good into the future.” Item passed 3-0.

Video starting at discussion of Action Item 1

Second Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute an Agreed Order to perform the remedial design for cleanup actions at the I&J Waterway Site, pending no substantive changes to the Draft Agreed Order.

The state Dept. of Ecology has found that the I&J Waterway Site is contaminated with toxic substances including mercury, nickel, phenol, phthalates, PAHs and PCBs. The site is in an ongoing cleanup process under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), and this is the next step in that process. The Port has worked with Bornstein Seafoods and Ecology to develop this Agreed Order for the remedial design of Sediment Cleanup Unit 1. This unit is planned to be dredged which could put the dock used by Bornstein’s out of commission. There are no direct costs associated with the execution of the Agreed Order.

Port Commissioner Ken Bell thanked Bornstein’s for their hard work and said, “this was an amazing long journey to get to this point with a lot of diplomacy.” Item passed 3-0.

Video starting at discussion of Action Item 2

Other Business –

Economic Development Director Don Goldberg gave the commission an update on his team’s work to make the Port an economic developer for the county, including plans to re-brand the Port as an Regional Economic Partnership (REP).

Video starting at Economic Development Director’s update:

– Submitted by a Citizen Journalist for Common Threads NW