Port Commission Meeting Reports

Concerning these Port of Bellingham (PoB) Commission Meeting Reports:    

  • Non-public Commission Meetings dedicated to personnel and legal issues precede meetings reported on here. 

  • Commission Public Meetings are held, with exceptions, at 4:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. 

  • Agendas are available at  https://www.portofbellingham.com/agendacenter

  • Report entries below are focused on parts of the meetings that are of particular interest to the WWCoalition. 

NOTE: entries will be listed under these headings:

Public Testimony: Members of the public are invited to give testimony up to three minutes, on any topic, at both 4:30 and a later time, loosely scheduled for 5:30.

Public Hearings: Occasionally, part of the meeting is dedicated to public testimony on a certain topic, e.g. the 2019 draft Strategic Budget during the 11/6/18 meeting.

Reports: These are made to the Commission, usually by Port staffers, about particular topics.

Action Items: Motions that will be voted up or down at this meeting.

Other Business: Commissioners can raise any non-agenda topic for discussion.


Sept. 17, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdVvykqw-lU

Public Testimony:

Series of speakers RE Blaine Harbor So. Pier (5:00, 13:10, 22:20)
These comments concern a proposal from a previous Commission meeting to alter leasing arrangements for the north and south piers in order to extend pier availability to additional users. These users could include crab buyers based outside of Whatcom County, a controversial topic.


Blaine Marina Industrial Area Update: Brady Scott, Sr. Property Manager for Marine Trades (33:50)
This comprehensive update includes information about: bulkhead repairs, the next cleanup project, a new shipyard building,
the new weblocker building and the demolition of another, long-term plans for the sawtooth dock, and more.
Mr. Scott notes that ten million dollars have been spent here since 2016, and presents a conceptual site plan for ongoing and future investments.

Workforce Development: Debby Granger, Working Waterfront Coalition Secretary (110:00)
Ms. Granger relates an ongoing effort by the Coalition to import the Quadrant Apprenticeship Program from British Columbia to Whatcom County, in cooperation with NWExplorations of Bellingham, and potentially involving other local companies. This program would be industry-based and lead to marine technical certification that participants could be earned during employment. 

Sept. 3, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al0DJyO-jOk

Other Business:

Blaine Marina Industrial Area Planning YouTube time: 1:15:15 Commissioner
Ken Bell proposes developing a master plan for the on-going re-development of the Blaine Harbor industrial peninsula. Discussions include the boatyard, the web-locker demolition, and expansion opportunities for the boatyard and processor tenants.

Blaine Harbor South Pier YouTube time: 1:31:10 Commissioner
Bobby Briscoe proposes making the south pier and its crane available to the fishing fleet. This would require terminating a month-to-month lease held by a processor. This discussion leads to a wide-ranging exchange on topics including a master plan, the road system, restoring access to the end of road pier, the new building for the boatyard, the need for a third boat launch lane, and more.

August 13, 2019  

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiCn0lOe_pE

 Public Testimony:

  Pete Granger, WWC President  (28:00)
Pete thanks the Commission for WWC’s opportunity to work with the Real Estate Division on a joint committee to draft language for planning documents that will help sustain the footprint of our working waterfronts. (See presentations)

  Walter Hutsik,  V.P. for Academic Affiars, B’ham. Technichal. College.  (29:00)
Mr. Hutsik expresses the commitment of BTC to exploring their continuing partnership with the Port for workforce training, especially in the marine trades area.

Consent Agenda:

  Aland Birdsall, Manager of Marinas, and Commissioner Shepard  (43:20)
A discussion answering Commissioner Shepard’s questions regarding auctions of vessels with overdue moorage accounts.


Chris Clark, Shipping Terminal Manager  (49:00)
Mr. Clark gives overview of Shipping Terminal expense and income trends and future prospects. 
Greg Nichol, Sr. Project Engineer, summarizes capital expenses since 2011 and projected.  (50:00). 
Paul Debolt, of Ports America, explains that Bellingham Shipping Terminal has the most growth potential of any small port on the Pacific Coast. (1:14:30)

  Brady Scott, Sr. Property Manager, Real Estate Division  (2:06:45)
Mr. Scott updates the Commission on the start of work by the joint WWC / Real Estate Division Committee working to draft planning document language favorable to the preservation of our working waterfronts.  Part of this effort will include the proposed adoption of the following Port objective during the 2020 Strategic Budget process: “(Port staff will) . . . work cooperatively with the Working Waterfront Coalition to update the Port of Bellingham’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements addressing land use and management policies focused on preserving and expanding marine trades properties.”

Inner Harbor Condition Update (2:10:40)
Port staffers report on an updated condition assessment of Squalicum’s inner harbor which indicates that the facility’s useful life can be extended beyond previous expectations through appropriate maintenance procedures.  This will affect upcoming changes in the moorage model. 

 Action Items:

Whatcom Waterway Clean Up Project including ASB Lagoon  (2:31:00)
Authorization of a contract with Anchor QEA for consulting support of Phase 2 at cost of  $635,000.  Brian Gouran explains that this is a milestone in the process of completing planning for the redevelopment of the ASB lagoon and adjacent marine trades area. Most of the cost will be covered by MTCA grants and payments from the existing AIG insurance policy.  Motion passes 3-0.

July 9, 2019

You Tube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNp5DwdAvZk

Action Items:

Bellingham Shipping Terminal YouTube 29:45 – 47:15
Authorization to hire Massana Construction to complete Phase III of improvements at a cost of $1,186,000, projects to include north terminal pilings, conveyor equipment removal, and bullrail installation throughout terminal. Of special interest is Exec. Dir. Fix’s description of the terminal’s expected revenues to come, found at 42.45 on video.

Motion passes 3-0.

Blaine Harbor Sawtooth Dock YouTube 1:25:20
Authorization of contract with WCP Inc. for design work on alternative plans for completeion of Phase 3 at a cost of $75,000. Commissioner Briscoe expressed a concern that more stakeholder input was needed prior to hiring a consultant. Further discussion led to consideration of replacing the the dock since it has outlived its projected lifespan and will require continual maintenance. Staff agreed that replacement would be a prudent long-term alternative. Commissioners asked that Stakeholders be consulted and replacement be added to the list of alternatives before further action is taken.

Motion fails 3-0.

June 18, 2019

Action Item:  (1:27:16)
Authorize the Executive Director to execute Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Army for dredged material placement during dredging of Squalicum Creek Waterway.

 Passed 3-0
This work will begin in Fall 2019.  Waterway will be dredged to depth of 30 feet.  Among other stakeholders, Bellingham Cold Storage has spent over $1 million in the long effort to approve and permit this important project!

Action Item: (2:29:55)
Authorize the Executive Director to submit an application to the City of Blaine for an amendment to the Blaine Wharf District Master Plan.

Passed 3-0. 
This amendment would add “industrial” use to planning area 7 which now is zoned “commercial”.  It would discourage pedestrian traffic in areas 6 and 7, where Walsh Marine and Sound Pacific Seafoods, among other marine businesses, are located.

Blaine City Council will conduct public hearings on this amendment this fall.  The Coalition submitted testimony supporting this amendment.

June 4, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hG-qn-RGzI

Action Item: (13:20)
I & J Waterway Cleanup: Motion to Authorize the Executive Director to execute a Professional Services Agreement with CRETE Consulting, Inc. for remedial design and permitting services for the I & J Waterway Sediment Cleanup Site.

Passes 3 - 0.

Other Business: (29:00 - 1:18:41)
A wide-ranging discussion that includes Fairhaven Shipyard bankruptcy, Commissioner transparency and compensation, and a $2.4 M. cost savings due to improving and excellent Port bond ratings.

May 20, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw0u6-Qtrc4


Cherry Point Update: Don Goldberg, Director of Economic Development ( 30:50)
The Port is the lead county agency for county-wide economic development. Don Goldberg reports about ongoing efforts to re-brand the Cherry Point industrial and create a modern industrial park with sites that are "shovel ready" for incoming businesses.

Public Testimony:

Ellie Kinley, Lummi Nation member and WWC BOD member (1:27:50)
Ellie points out the historical significance of Cherry Pt. to Lummi Nation as a village site, and requests more consideration of the area's cultural resources.

May 7, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4HrGgmI8nU

Public Testimony:

Pete Granger, WWC President (1:90)
Referring to the proposal for a "local food campus" on the Lignin Bldg. site (see last meeting report), Pete suggests that local seafood should be added to local farm products as a focus for planning this facility and the food-centered activities it would support.


Jim Kyle, WWC Vice-President (1:10:30)
At the invitation of the Commission, Jim proposes that a "no net loss of working waterfronts" principle be considered for adoption by the Commission, as both a corporate goal and a policy. Following the presentation, the WWC No Net Loss Subcommittee (Pete Granger, Mike McAuley, George Dyson) was introduced to take part in the discussion that followed.

Commissioners were generally supportive of the proposal but pointed-out problems with the phrase "no net loss" that generates opposition because of its history as biodiversity language. The non-binding nature with respect to future Commissions was also mentioned. Commissioners agreed to refer the proposal to a joint Real Estate Division / WWC Committee to develop a draft proposal under the direction of Director, Shirley McFearin.

Apr. 23, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5-TQT14UQ0


Lignin Parcel, proposal from Whatcom Community Foundation (1:06:30)
This is a proposal for a public-private partnership to put the Lignin Parcel to work by removing the existing building and replacing it with a purpose-built structure for a "local food campus." This project could include facilities for value-added processing, retail sales, restaurants, workforce training and housing, farmer's market, education on local food sources, food truck court, and more. The project's focus so far is food produced on local farms. (We (WWC) will be promoting the inclusion of seafood, including retail and a connection with off/boat sales on Whatcom Waterway.) Commissioners expressed strong support for the concept, discussions will continue, and Port staff will prepare a draft Memorandum of Understanding for consideration by the Commission.

Action Items:

Squalicum Harbor Fishermen's Pavilion: (1:52:30)
Authorization of $163,000 expenditure for design and engineering expense. This large three-sided building would occupy the current site of the fenced dry-storage yard (near Gate 5) which is being re-located. The building would serve as a covered work area for commercial fishermen during the winter months and as an event venue during summer months. Motion passed 3-0.

Blaine Webhouse #1 Replacement Project: (2:08:00)
Authorization of $3,726,997 contract for construction of new weblocker building. This building would replace the one on the industrial peninsula, freeing up space for expansion of processor and boatyard tenants. Commissioners expressed concern about the high cost, after hoping that this second request for bids would result in lower bids. After debate, Commissioners decided that any further delay would jeopardize needed economic development. Motion approved 3-0.

Other Business:

Squalicum Harbor Break-Ins (2:33:40)
Commissioner Shepard requests report from Squalicum Harbormaster Kyle Randolph about recent series of break-ins. Kyle explains what is being done in response and plans for a locking gate at gate ramp #5 and a new electronic access system that will replace all gate coded locks.

No-Net Loss of Working Waterfront (2:50:00)
Commissioner Briscoe requests presentation from Working Waterfront Coalition about the "No Net Loss of Working Waterfront" concept, to be scheduled on May 7 Commission agenda.

April 9, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HMty6VNTcQ


Weblocker Update YouTube time: 14:30
Report on continuing weblocker re-allocation process, with new regulations adopted with goal of freeing up lockers for active commercial fishers. Squalicum Harbormaster introduces two non-fisher weblocker tenants who are requesting waivers that would enable them to retain their current locker assignments. Commission takes under advisement.

Action Items:

Inner Harbor Survey 1:09:30
Staff requests approval of hiring consultant at cost of $90,000 to survey inner harbor and gillnet loading area to determine projected lifespan and interim maintenance requirements. Exec. Dir. Fix explains that the Port is leaning away from a planned $40,000,000 rebuilding of the inner harbor, and instead plans to maintain and repair sections as required. Passes 3-0

Blaine Harbor Marine Industrial Peninsula Survey 1:17:20
Staff requests approval of hiring consultant for planning and design assistance at cost of Blaine Harbor is in the midst of a multi-year infrastructure upgrade. The removal of several buildings on the 5-acre industrial peninsula will free up space for processor and boatyard expansions and increased maneuverability for commercial fishing operations.

After hearing some pushback from Commissioners that staff could possibly do all or part of this work in-house, staff explains that some of the technical work would be beyond staff capabilities and that the time required for the project would seriously impinge on regular staff work. During the discussion, both staff and Commissioners emphasize that stakeholder input (including that of WWC) is critical and will continue to guide the project. The motion passes 3-0.

Approval of Exec. Dir. Action in response to Puglia Inc. Bankruptcy 1:32:40 . Although Fairhaven Shipyard has been profitable, its owner and Port tenant, Puglia Engineering Inc. is bankrupt due to operations in California. Following a complicated series of events and negotiations, Exec. Dir. Fix accepted a settlement between the Port and Puglia and its creditors that required a timely, off-hours decision. Commissioners ratified the settlement 3-0.

Bonding company payments resulted in a financial outcome favorable to the Port. The shipyard will be aggressively marketed to restore jobs.

March 19, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-d0zoVFhIk

Public Testimony:
Three commercial fishers, on weblocker issues.
YouTube: 0:30 - 6:00

Presentations :
Brady Scott, Property Manager for Marine Trades
YouTube: 07:30 - 35:00.
Report on continuing infrastructure reconstruction at Blaine Harbor, including docks, bulkheads, cleanups, new building for boatyard, re-location of one weblocker building, stormwater system, and more. The Port is spending over 10 million dollars on this renewal project, which will bring updated commercial fishing facilities and expansion space for processors and the boatyard. This work will require an amendment of the Blaine Wharf District Master Plan.

Action Items:
Weblocker Rule and Allocation Amendments
YouTube: 1:39:30 - 2:45:38
As presented by Alan Birdsall, Manager of Marinas, in an effort to free up more locker space for commercial fishing storage, the primary use for weblockers, rules have been re-written and allocations changed for buildings at both Blaine and Squalicum Harbors.

This project has resulted in an increase in lockers available to commercial fishermen and a system for prioritizing future locker assignments. This lengthy discussion includes additional input from several stakeholders and leads to the passage of two enabling action items, both by 3-0 votes. Several difficult specific allocation questions, and future exceptions to the new regulations, will be decided by the Port Commission.

March 5, 2019

No issues relevant to WWC, no report filed.

Feb. 19, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbjczP2rM24

Public Testimony:

Jim McKinney, Whatcom Business Alliance YouTube time: 9:25 .
Explanation of WBA's Youth Engagement Initiative. Request for PoB partnership in promoting technical training for students and workforce development that would help waterfront businesses (and others) satisfy employee needs.

Steve Walker, WWC BOD member speaking as private citizen: 1:14:20 .
Appeal to return Cornwall Cove to historical use as a center for small boat activity, which would require relocation of PoB maintenance building.


Weblocker Update, Alan Birdsall, PoB Marina Manager 1:48:00 .
Report on ongoing effort to free up weblockers for active commercial fishing occupants.
After much input from stakeholders, lockers are being re-allocated and new regs are being drawn up, with draft due for commission meeting, March 5 and approval expected to be on March 19 agenda.

New (Draft) Weblocker Goal / Purpose Statement:
PoB weblockers are a strategic asset utilized primarily to attract and to keep the seafood industry base located in Whatcom County and secondarily, to support harbor-based marine commercial / trades businesses, with a goal of providing maximum economic benefits for Whatcom County.

Action Items:

Proposed 2019 Moorage Rates, Pam Taft, PoB Special Projects 2:51:30 .
With moorage model up for a re-set in 2018, Port staff opted to recommend a continuation of the model negotiated in 2014, with a new model waiting for a report on how soon inner Squalicum Harbor will be rebuilt.
Commissioner Briscoe objects to the proposed 4% 2019 increase for recreational moorage. Passes 2-1, Briscoe against.

Other Business:

Workforce Development: YouTube: 3:05:00 .
More discussion about WBA initiative, including possible connection with re-development property allocated to Western Crossing. Commissioners very supportive of efforts to increase technical education possibilities. WWC President, Pete Granger comments on Coalition plans for scholarship program with possible apprenticeship connection.

Feb . 5, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIvmB3V2IRg

Public Testimony:
Judith Akin, Blue Green Coalition
YouTube time: 1:20
Possible role on the role of affordable housing in waterfront redevelopment.

Action Items:
Intergovernmental Framework Agreement 2 between Lummi Nation and the Port of Bellingham.
YouTube time: 6:30

Background: Presentation by Brian Gouran, Director of Environmental Programs.
As a result of the Boldt Decision of 1974 which granted sovereignty and led to co-management of many marine resources, the PoB must negotiate with Lummi Nation regarding in-water and tideland projects which could affect treaty rights. This is the second, and more detailed, Framework Agreement which should lead to a closer working relationship and help prepare the way forward for Port projects. In return, it grants Lummi Nation certain rights and privileges.

Commissioner Shepard pointed out that Squalicum Harbor is home for the largest Treaty fishing fleet in the United States.
All comments positive. Action Taken: 3-0 Vote in favor.

I&J Waterway Cleanup YouTube time: 24:30

Background: Presentation by Brian Gouran.
Still a Federal Waterway, I&J is in need of cleanup of historic contaminants and dredging. The plan being presented would require removal and post-project replacement of Bornstein bulkhead and dock, dredging and capping, with the cleanup partially covered by MTCA funds. Bornstein and the Port are "potentially liable parties" and partners in the project. A third "PLP" is Olivine Corporation.

Alternative unloading possibilities for when the Bornstein facilities are down were discussed.
With Bornstein being a full partner in planning, the outlook for a smooth process is good. Passage of this proposal would allow planning to proceed with available funds in an effort to be "shovel-ready" for when MTCA funds become available for actual implementation. All comments positive. Action Taken: 3-0 vote in favor.

Other Business YouTube time: 1:04:00
Another All-American boat launch, Commissioner Briscoe steering tugboat.

Public Testimony YouTube time: 1:05:30
Jim Kyle, WWC V. Pres.: On the significance of the Intergovernmental Agreement Framework between PoB and Lummi Nation

January 22, 2019

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gERDzJXDL9c

Public Testimony:
Doug Karlberg
Doug, representing Commercial Fishermen's Association, advocates for the re-writing of regulations on qualification for weblocker rentals based on strategic goals with public input.

Milan Slipcevic 2:40
Milan offers help to C.F.A. in resolving remaining weblocker rental issues.
In addition, he reports that C.F.A. is prepared to assume responsibility for the Fishermen's Memorial and thanks Whatcom Maritime Association for caring for the Memorial until now.

Ex. Dir. Fix reports he will work to resolve paperwork issues to make that happen.

Brian Gouran, PoB Director of Environmental and Planning
11:20 - 1:02:15
Report on Whatcom Waterway Cleanup, Phase 2
Brian explains staff recommendation to partially fill the ASB Lagoon, which would change the plan currently in effect to use the whole lagoon for a new marina. This decision would lead the way toward decisions on other land use decisions concerning the surrounding area, and would maintain maximum flexibility going forward.

Brian reports two primary factors have made the marina less feasible:
1) the 2008 recession with changing boating habits, and
2) new regulations that would triple the cost of converting the lagoon to a marina. The Commissioners informally and unanimously directed the staff to proceed in the recommended direction.

January, 8, 2019   

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFfX6i7KzJc

Other Business 1:20:30

General discussion about ongoing weblocker reassignment process and upcoming Blaine Harbor building projects.

Nov. 20, 2018 

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCqcWzpj_mw

Web-locker Update, Alan Birdsall, Director of Marinas
17:30 - 29:00
Concerning current efforts to free up lockers occupied by users non-compliant with
regulations to accommodate active commercial fishers on waiting list.

Special Public Hearing on 2019 Strategic Budget 29:00 - 35:00
WWC V. P. Jim Kyle testifies on changing Port priorities, and in support of Strategic
Budget draft and the need for adequate funding of SeaFeast.

Other Business 144:00 - end
Informal discussion about Phase 2, Whatcom Waterway clean-up continues, including:
ASB lagoon planning, barge terminal possibilities, formation of a non-profit in support of
downtown Bellingham hatchery proposal, and web-lockers.

November 6, 2018

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VT092_Oea0

Public Testimony
Subject: Web-lockers (YouTube 00:00 - 5:00)
A commercial fisher and moorage customer inquires about his place on the sign-up list and asks why
non-conforming uses are permitted to continue.

Commissioners agree there is a problem and to take up the subject under other business.

Special Public Hearing, on draft 2019 Strategic Budget
Subject: Bellingham SeaFeast Funding, Matt Hardin
(YouTube 14:00 - 17:00)
Matt requests strong financial support for the festival going forward.

Other Business
Subject: Web-lockers, Director of Marinas, Alan Birdsall
(YouTube 1:00:50 - 1:09:30)
There is a policy in place that gives commercial fishing priority and divides all tenants into user groups that must meet certain use standards.

There are non-conforming users in the various groups.

An additional problem is that some tenants have refused to sign new moorage agreements
that include this policy.

Commissioners give strong support to staff to enforce current policy in order to increase locker availability for commercial fishers and by so doing, will attract more commercial fishing businesses to PoB harbors.


October 16, 2018

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB1e2UKwom8

Public Testimony: (YouTube 1:00 - 5:40)

Darren Williams, Longshoremen representative, discusses background of contract up for approval and encourages yes votes from Commissioners.

Report: (YouTube 7:00 - 35:00)

Quarterly financial report and update on the 2019 Strategic Budget process by Finance Director Tamara Sobjack. Important dates in budget process: Draft posted online Oct. 22, public hearings
at the Nov. 6 & Nov. 20 Commission meetings, Adoption Nov. 20.

Issue 1: Approval of a contract between PoB and West Coast Terminal and Stevedore, Inc.,
for specific stevedore services at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal.
(YouTube: 1:46 - 1:55)

Background: Plans to activate the Shipping Terminal are coming to fruition, and this contract would formalize a relationship with longshore workers for certain cargoes.

Discussion: All comments positive; all agree that this contract represents a milestone in
the re-activation of the Shipping Terminal.

Action Taken: Passed 3-0

Issue 2: Authorization of a study by Heartland LLC to analyze the Whatcom International Business Park at Cherry Point feasibility study.
Presentation by Don Goldberg, Director of Economic Development.
(YouTube 1:58 - 2:12)

Background: The Port is the lead Whatcom Co. economic development agency. If it proceeds this study would likely be financially supported by the County and the City. This authorization would commit $75,000 of Port Funds.

Discussion: All parties including major Cherry Point property owners agree it is time to take a new, comprehensive, and coordinated look and the future development possibilities. The sole source nature of the contract was questioned, but staff explained that since Heartland did the original study money would be saved by using the same consultant again.

Action Taken: Passed 3-0

Issue 3: Approval of a Harbor Land Lease between PoB and Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. (YouTube 2:11:50 - 2:23:00)

Background: Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. raises oysters in Drayton Harbor on land leased from Dept. of Natural Resources, and wishes to lease part of the end pier extension for equipment moorage.

Discussion: All positive comments.

Action Taken: Passed 3-0

Reported by Jim Kyle


October 2, 2018

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQbPMq67qAg

This Commission meeting was quite short and devoted mostly to airport issues.

One exception: Enthusiastic comments from Commissioners and Executive Director Fix regarding the 2018 Bellingham SeaFeast festival, it's changing leadership, and a challenge to make it the
#1 rated festival in the area in 2019.

(YouTube: 16:20 - 19:00)

Reported by Jim Kyle


Sept. 18, 2018

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jarcSPYwreI

Public Comments: (YouTube 1:00 - 10:00)

1. Jim Kyle (WWC) thanks the Commission and staff for their partnership on Squalicum interpretive signage and the cooperative effort to hold numerous stakeholder-staff meetings on Blaine harbor re-development.

2. Roger VanDyken, retiring from San Juan Sailing charter co. ownership, reviews his lengthy, sometimes bumpy history as a Port tenant, and ends by thanking Commissioners and Staff for their current strong support of our working waterfronts.

Issue 1: Bellingham waterfront hatchery proposal. (YouTube 27:00 - 58:20)

Background: A group of hatchery proponents including Port officials traveled to Juneau to learn about McCauley Hatchery, a producer of large numbers of salmon and a tourist destination on that waterfront.

Discussion: Mike Hogan reported on the trip and the non-profit model hatchery ownership. There is much interest in this concept on the part of Bellingham waterfront community leadership, Port Commissioners, and Staff, as it may apply to re-configuration of the ASB lagoon area.

Action Taken: None, except for enthusiastic support for the possibility going forward.

Issue 2: Blaine Marine Industrial Area Update (YouTube 1:07:30 - 1:22:30)

Background: The Blaine Marine Industrial Area is undergoing extensive cleanup and
re-development with many moving parts. The WWCoalition helped organize ongoing meetings between stakeholders and port staff for discussions about needed changes, including construction of a new building for Walsh Marine boatyard, demolition of web-locker bldg. #1,
and construction of a replacement.

Discussion: Brady Scott presentation on progress to date and future expectations.

Action Taken: Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve related Memorandums of Understanding between Port tenants and the PoB.

Report by Jim Kyle


September 4, 2018

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld8jzTNx0Us&t=12s

Issue 1: Dry Stack Storage (Time on YouTube: 1:59:00 - 2:07:40)

Background: In 2001 the Port sponsored a study on this issue, Commissioner Shepard commented that there is much interest in this type of boat storage and asked about the possibility of an update.

Discussion: Ex. Dir. Fix explained that Port holdings on the Bellingham waterfront are limited, but that staff will consider dry stack possibilities in conjunction with upcoming planning for the ASB lagoon area in the Marine Trades area. Sundance Yachts is planning a facility in Blaine, where space is available.

Action Taken: Commissioners expressed some doubts about the Port advancing this concept in Bellingham and agreed to wait to see about dry stack possibilities that may materialize during ASB/Marine Trades area discussions.

Report by Jim Kyle


August 14, 2018       

YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l

 Issue 1:  Waterfront District Update 

(Time on YouTube:  7:08)

            Background:  The City has received from the Port a proposed Sub-Area Plan Amendment, with the primary purpose of adjusting the alignment of streets and view corridors in the redevelopment area near the Granary building east of Whatcom Waterway.  This proposal is a lengthy document that focuses on layout and does not propose usage changes.  It will be subject
to public input and then action by the City in early 2019. 

            Discussion:  No action taken, presentation only by Brian Gouran, Director of Environmental Services.  This presentation is a comprehensive summary of the status of the project and explains progress towards three more proposed construction projects: the Granary Annex, the Gateway Office Building, and the 1.7 acre residential units. 

The Sub-Area Plan also addresses some relatively minor infrastructure plans in other parts of the Waterfront District, including the C. St. Marine Trades Area.

 Issue 2:  Harbor (Log Pond) Land Lease with TYR Port Logistics  (Time on YouTube:  1:17:30)

            Background:  Tyr Port Logistics Co. requested a land lease in order to pursue the restoration of the rail link between the Burlington Northern mainline and the log pond and shipping terminal areas    If successful, Tyr would build the link and establish
a container shipping terminal, focused on export/import of containers to and from Asia.  The terminal would be expected to attract smaller companies that are not well-served by the larger container ports.  The rail link would be built on Tyr's dime, saving the Port millions of dollars. 

Action Taken:  Approved 3-0, with much enthusiasm

Report Submitted by Jim Kyle



July 10, 2018

Youtube Link:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbnR3s59vW4     

Issue 1:   Environmental Compliance Assessment Program (ECAP) Consulting Services

         Discussion:   Authorization to hire DH Environmental, Inc. to consult on Port’s ECAP program ($44,000).  This is an elective program by the Port to monitor stormwater compliance and environmental best practices by the Port and its tenants.  It may involve periodic site visits to Port and tenant operations.  Commissioners felt that Port staff might perform these duties in-house and save funds for other uses and asked staff to consider this in the future.

         Action:   Commission voted 3-0 to authorize.


Issue 2:   Contract with Summit Construction for C Street Terminal Project – Phase 2

         Discussion:   Staff outlined various improvements to be accomplished west of Colony Wharf complex including water and power pedestals for vessel mooring, grading, stormwater mitigation, water and power service.  Three responsive bids ranged from approx. $500,000 to $750,000, which was an abnormal spread. Commission discussed possibility of delaying this bid acceptance or terminating it while staff explored bid $ differences with each bidder. 

         Action:   Commission voted 3-0 to terminate bid process and to begin again.


Issue 3:   Renewal and Modification of Harbor Land Lease between the Port and Walsh Marine and increase Capital Improvement Budget for new building on this site in Blaine Harbor.

         Discussion:   Various reasons for increasing building cost by $147,000 and capital improvement budget by $543,700 were discussed.

         Action:   Commission approved this Renewal and Modification 3-0.


Commission also passed these measures:

a.     A service contract with Port Coast Terminal and Stevedore Co for services at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal.

b.     Authorize renewal of Port’s Property and its Crime Insurance coverage through July 1, 2019. 

c.     Authorize agreement with Blues Festival event for exclusive use of Zuanich Park on Sept. 1.  Commissioner Briscoe voting No:  not agreeing with any use of the park that excludes public access.

d.    Authorize contract with IMCO to perform clean-up actions at Blaine Marina site.

Report Submitted by: Pete Granger


June 19, 2018

YouTube linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFHy9HWrEFg

Issue 1:   Interpretive Signage at Squalicum Harbor   (17:10 on YouTube)

Background:  Previously, the Commission had given approval to the concept of interpretive signage near Fishermen's Memorial and Gate 5 at Squalicum Harbor.  This action item proposed an Open Spaces 2018 Capital Improvement Project Budget line item for installation of seven signs. The budget addition would allow completion of this portion of the project by allocating $9,000 of Port funds to add to $11,000 from the Dave Hansen Memorial Fund, which has been collected and administered by the Working Waterfront Coalition. A Coalition Committee has been working with harbormaster, Kyle Randolph to complete the signage design. 

Discussion:  All comments favorable, with discussion about extending the signage project to Blaine Harbor in 2019.     

Action Taken:  Approved 3-0

Issue 2Modification of Grandcamp International Lease  (1:21 on YouTube)

Background:  Grandcamp has been trans-shipping logs through PoB Shipping Terminal since early this year. This lease modification would reduce the amount of leased land from eight acres to two acres. 

Discussion:  Changing conditions in the log market require adjustments to Grandcamp's business plan. Comments indicated that this has been a positive business relationship for both parties. Expectations are good for further log business for the shipping terminal.  Commissioner Briscoe expressed a concern that PoB land not become simply a log storage yard, and was assured that this is not  happening.

Action Taken:  Approved 3-0

June 5, 2018

Link to Youtube Recording of Meeting

Presentations: (no vote)

1.   Whatcom Waterway and Aeriation Stabilization Basin (ASB) Update

Staff presented an update on clean-up in the waterway and ASB and land-use options for the ASB.  Three future options exist for the ASB with a variety of possible commercial uses associated with each:

      Option 1:  Total open water ASB

      Option 2:  Partial-fill ASB with some open water

      Option 3:  Total-fill ASB

Initial thoughts from Commission favored Option 2, in concept, but much planning is needed before final decision.  Some prioritization of these options will come in the Fall.

Slides from this presentation are available on Port website>YouTube Recording of Meeting.

2.   Update on Blaine Harbor Web-locker Project

Plans going forward for construction of new web-locker buildings.  Interesting addition, which met with Commission approval, is a trail along the waterside of the project for pedestrians all the way to the boat launch area.  Stormwater swails on the backside of trail are also planned.

Issue 1:  Approval of resolution, pursuant to state law, determining the practicality of using 100% biofuels and electricity for operating Port vehicles, vessels, and equipment.

         Discussion:  Considerable savings in conventional fuel costs would be achieved.  Port cannot afford changing all equipment at once. Executive Director Fix reported that Port will make changes as equipment and vehicles are replaced, if it makes sense.

         Action:.  All three Commissioners concurred.


Issue 2:  Authorize Executive Director to enter into an agreement with event organizers to close  Port Parks and hold private events up to 3 times per year.

                   Discussion:  Commissioners were reluctant to pass this until the two events scheduled for this summer have occurred. Then, with an evaluation of what impacts these events had, a more long-term policy can be determined.

         Action:  All three Commissioners concurred.

                   Report Submitted by: Pete Granger

May 15, 2018

Youtube Link :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTVGowsFA9w

Issue 1:  State Audit of Port financials

Discussion: State of Washington audit team presented at this meeting outlining their operations in conducting the annual audit of the Port’s financial operations.  Cost: $39,900.

Action: The audit will be completed in May and report released in June, barring any unforeseen findings.  Will be available on State Auditor’s website.

Issue 2:  Use permit for Food Truck operations in Squalicum Harbor.

Discussion: Discussion on permits to allow mobile food trucks to operate in Squalicum Harbor area.  Commissioner Briscoe opposed as he felt current food operations there including coffee stand and restaurants should be notified first before such permits were allowed.

Action: Commissioners voted 2 in favor, 1 against to allow on a test basis for this summer.

Report by: Pete Granger

May 1, 2018

Link to Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YomoF7SHiBA 

Issue 1:  Interpretive Signage Presentation

          Discussion:  Kyle Randolph, Squalicum Harbormaster, presented mock-ups of the proposed interpretive signs to be placed along outer walk and at Gate 5 in Squalicum Harbor.  Signs include illustrations and photos of representative fishing boats and gear, maps of areas in Salish Sea and outer coast and Alaska where Whatcom county fleet fishes.  Pete Granger, WWC President, briefly summarized the impetus for starting this project.  Jim Kyle, WWC Board member, has been an inspiration for this project and worked hard to make it a reality along with WWC members, Cole Hansen and Walt Ingram.  Funding for this project comes from Port budget and Dave Hansen Memorial Fund, which WWC oversees. 

          Action:  Kyle’s presentation was very well received.  Commissioners felt that interpretive signs of the fishing industry were long overdue.  Commissioner Briscoe related seeing these types of signs in other ports along the West Coast and in Alaska.  Commissioner Shepard asked if signs could be mounted in Blaine harbor as well - duplicates of Bellingham so costs would be minimal.  All three nodded in favor of going ahead with the project.  Planned completion date:  early Sept. just before Bellingham SeaFeast. 

Issue 2:  Security Services for Port facilities

Discussion: Staff presented budget and bids for security services for next two years.                  Pacific Security was chosen for contract for approx. $440,000 per year. 

Action: Commission approved unanimously. 

Issue 3:  Leases for Building 7 at Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park

Discussion: Proposed to terminate LFS Inc. lease of building 7 and approve lease of same building by Bellingham Glove Co.  LFS has moved operations to F St. Warehouse. 

Action: Approved unanimously by Cmsn. 

Other:  Commissioner Briscoe, in general discussion at end of meeting, brought up idea of installing additional dolphins in Whatcom Waterway on Colony Wharf side beyond existing barge tie-ups.  This would add additional tie-up space for anticipated increase in barge traffic in that area.  He said that no one had approached him on this yet, but he would like to get “ahead of the curve” by having staff at least work up an estimate of cost of driving additional piling in that area.  Staff agreed to do that. 

Time on YouTube video: 1 hour 48 minutes

Reported by: Pete Granger

April 17, 2018

YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqVROJJEttU

Issue 1:  Presentation by Brady Scott, Real Estate Div., updating Blaine Marine Industrial Area redevelopment progress.

Background: Redevelopment including infrastructure replacement is accelerating this year, with careful planning required to coordinate work on various projects.

Discussion: Demolition of Webhouse 1 and cleanup of the ex-Blaine Marina fuel station are expected to begin late summer.

Action Taken: None, presentation only.

Time on YouTube:  41:30

Issue 2:  Authorization of execution of a $50,000 contract with BergerABAM Inc. for engineering consulting services for the Blaine Harbor Marine Industrial Peninsula Bulkhead Replacement project.  

Background: Bulkheads are in various degrees of failure and will be repaired or replaced with timing dependent on condition and coordination with other redevelopment projects.

Action Taken:  Contract approved 3-0.

Time on YouTube:  1:23:50

Issue 3:  Request for approval from Department of Ecology for cleanup actions at the Blaine Marina Inc. now closed fueling site.

Background: The project will include removal of the large building, removal of contaminated soil, and backfilling to original grade.

Discussion: Work is slated to begin in July. One small building that does not hinder the project will remain standing for now to accommodate the current tenant.

Action Taken: Passed 3-0.

Note: Blaine Marina Inc. was the owner of the now-closed fueling station that is the subject of the cleanup project.  "Blaine Marine Industrial Area" refers to the entire approximately five-acre peninsula.

Time on YouTube: 1:38:00

Reported by: Jim Kyle

April 3, 2018

YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5_TWyZhFUU

Issue 1:  C. St. Barge Terminal

Background: The Port invested considerable effort and funding over the past few years cleaning up Whatcom Waterway and rebuilding infrastructure.  There is now a flurry of barge activity there.

Discussion:  During public comment period we asked the Commissioners to check out the barging activity, at the request of Mark Lake of the Landings at Colony Wharf.

Action Taken:  Commissioners agreed to visit the terminal.

Time on YouTube:  27:00 min. 

Issue 2:  New lease for Lakeside Marine Inc. 

Background:  Staff proposes a lease with Lakeside Marine for Building 1, 801 Harris Ave., in Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park, recently vacated by LFSI, which has leased space in the ex-tissue warehouse on Roeder.  Lakeside's business focuses on pier and float construction in fresh water and maintenance and storage of trailered recreational boats.

Discussion:  In response to a question, Lakeside owner said the company is open to operations involving saltwater boats and construction. 

Action Taken:  Lease approved 3-0.

Time on YouTube:  32:40 min.

Issue 3:  Purchase of truck scales.      

Background: Increased activity at the Shipping Terminal has required truck scales, which have been rented until now. 

Discussion: Expected life of the scales would be twenty years, depending on use.  Fees would be charged for each use by tenants, non-tenants, and also use unrelated to port operations.  

Action Taken:  Approved 3-0

Time on YouTube:  37:00 min. 

Reported by:  Jim Kyle

March 20, 2018


Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4_Lr6KsN4I    

Issue 1: Modification of lease between the Port and Landings at Colony Wharf for premises at C Street adjacent to the Whatcom Waterway.

Background:  Needs to be access from Roeder for emergency vehicles within boat storage area. Small triangular parcel in mind would not affect boat storage capacity.

Discussion: General

Action Taken: Approved

Time on YouTube: 48:10

Issue 2: Professional Services Agreement with Floyd/Snyder LLC for consulting support at the Harris Avenue Shipyard MTCA clean-up site.

Background:  Ongoing environmental cleanup.

Discussion: None

Action Taken: Approved

Time on YouTube: 24:30

Issue 3: Professional Services Agreement with RMC Architects to provide design, permitting, and estimating support for three projects in Blaine.

Background:  This will continue work on three projects at Blaine Harbor:  demolition of old Webhouse 1, construction of new Webhouse 1 adjacent to two existing warehouses and upgrading curbs and sidewalks on Milholland Drive, and construction of new building for Walsh Marine.

Discussion:   Briscoe was concerned that paved sidewalks and curbs near webhouses would impede fishermen and trailers of gear moving in and out of individual lockers.

Action Taken: Approved.  Staff will take Briscoe’s comments into consideration.

Time on YouTube:  37:35

Issue 4: Sandy Ward of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism gave a short presentation summarizing the impacts of tourism on the County in 2017.  This report can be found on this webite: https://www.bellingham.org/membership/whatcom-county-travel-impacts/

Reported by: Pete Granger

March 5, 2018

YouTube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkXZEVhbYSw

Issue 1:  Approval of Project Memorandum for Harcourt Project No. 2 - Three Waterfront Residential Buildings

Background:  Approval of this Memorandum would green-light sending the proposal to the City which will have the responsibility for design specifics.

Discussion:  Commissioner Shepard expressed concerns that the building designs so far are not iconic and adapted to the site,, and for that reason requested tabling a vote on approving this memorandum to allow further design consideration.  Commissioners Bell and Briscoe argued that the ultimate design responsibility rests with the city, that further delays should be avoided, and urged approval.

Action Taken:  Memorandum was approved 2-1.

Time on YouTube:  23:40

Issue 2:  Resolution No. 1369, authorizing purchase of equipment for the Bellingham Shipping Terminal  (BST).

Background:  Part of a continuing push to put the BST to work, this Resolution would authorize the purchase of equipment enabling break-bulk goods (non-container) movement across the dock.  

Discussion:  This proposal is driven by a specific, immediate opportunity to handle steel imports.  Marine Terminal Director Chris Clark explained terminals in Vancouver, B.C. are turning toward container shipping at the expense of break-bulk facilities, creating congestion on their docks that is frustrating Canadian steel importers.  Selection of appropriate, used, high quality equipment was aided by input and market research by Bellingham Longshore Local Chapt. 7, ILWU, continuing the tradition of close stakeholder -- Port cooperation and planning.

Action Taken:  Resolution approved 3-0.

Time on YouTube: 1:13:50

Issue 3:  Regional Recreational Boating Analysis Presentation, relating to the ASB marina proposal.

Background:  Paul Sorensen of BST Associates presented a thorough analysis of recreational boating trends in this region. The Commission had requested this input to facilitate planning for future use of the ASB lagoon and surrounding area.

Discussion:  Summary of points made in the presentation:  The average age of recreational boaters is increasing, the number of boats in use is decreasing, and younger boaters show signs of favoring cooperative or time-share arrangements for their boating activity.  Also, there is a trend toward covered dry storage. The successful marketing of a new marina would depend on increasing market share since the number of boaters needing in-water moorage is unlikely to increase.  

Action Taken:  Presentation only, no action taken.  

Time on YouTube:  1:27:00

Reported by:  Jim Kyle  

February 20, 2018

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4_Lr6KsN4I

Issue 1: Waterfront Redevelopment

Background: During the last several months the Port has been inviting public opinion
about a choice between two competing plans for access and layout of the Granary area
development. The two alternatives are labeled "Maple Street" and "Waypoint" and
citizens who responded in various forums preferred Waypoint.

Discussion: The three Commissioners all supported the "Waypoint" proposal which had gained the most support from the public. Commissioners Bell and Shepard
suggested that during future negotiations Harcourt be required to open an office in

Action Taken: By a 3 - 0 vote, the Commissioners approved the Waypoint option and
instructed staff to execute an appropriate MOU with Harcourt and to submit a Sub Area
Plan Amendment to the City enabling the development to proceed under the
Waypoint plan.

Time on YouTube: 13:40

Reported By: Jim Kyle


February 6, 2018

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXrc1_XLW9M 

Issue 1: Waterfront District Update  (GP Redevelopment site)

Background: Now that the Granary Building project nears completion and roadway infrastructure construction is underway, public interest is focused on a choice to be made on access and overall layout options for the larger site. 

Discussion: The Port is considering two access options, titled “Waypoint” and “Maple,” that affect the site layout.   This report focused on the various ways Port staff has been both educating the public about these two options and assessing public preferences.  This effort has involved accepting email comments, two open houses, many small community/association meetings, and an online survey.  Hundreds of comments have been received, and so far the Waypoint option is preferred.  This effort is ongoing. 

Action Taken: None.  The Feb. 20 Commission meeting agenda is expected to include the choice as an action item.

Time on YouTube: 1:08

Reported By: Jim Kyle


January 16, 2018

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YGry400W5c

Issue 1:  Squalicum Dry Storage (Boneyard) – fenced in area near Squalicum Boathouse Parking Lot

Discussion: Proposal to move Boneyard away from its present location - Gate 5 parking lot. At the urging of Commissioner Bobby Briscoe, the Commission authorized Staff to develop a game-plan to move the fenced commercial fishing storage yard near Gate 5, sometimes called the "boneyard," to one of two other sites off Roeder St. west of Bellingham Cold Storage.  The goal is to free up space between Gate 5 and Zuanich Pt Park for additional parking or other uses.

Action Taken: Staff was directed to consult with commercial fishermen on a moving plan that meets their needs. Commission authorized Staff to consult stakeholders

Time on YouTube: 41 min. to 52 min. 

Reported By: Jim Kyle


January 2, 2018

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM_WFs_6HoU

Issue 1:  Inauguration of new PoB Commissioners

Discussion: Ken Bell - replacing Mike McAuley, and Michael Shepard - replacing Dan Robbins, were sworn in by Debbie Adelstein, Whatcom County Auditor.

Action Taken: Each of the new commissioners were individually sworn in by Debbie Adelstein. Each  new commissioner took their seats at the dias with their official name plates in front of their seats. 

Time on YouTube: 0:00

Submitted By: Deborah Granger

Issue 2:  Officers elected, dates/times for meetings for 2018 calendar year,  leads selected for various agency representatives 

Discussion: Cordial discussion of selection of officers, revision of commission meeting times, and assignment of agency representation

Action Taken: Officer for 2018: Ken Bell, President; Bobby Briscoe, Vice President; Michael Shepard, Secretary. Meeting times were modified slightly. PoB Commission Meetings will begin at 4:30, no break at 5:00, 2 public comment periods (4:30 and 5:30 p.m.). 

Time on YouTube: 3:50

Reported By: Deborah Granger