Proposed Lummi Nation Slater Road Project Location

Lummi Nation requests up to 600,000 gallons of water a day from the City of Bellingham while backing efforts by the State  Democrats to block rural landowners from legally planned usage of water.

Tim Bellew Lummi Nation Business Council Chair


New Development by Lummi Nation on Slater Road is in Bellingham’s UGA(Urban Growth Area). The Lummi Nation is asking for water from the City of Bellingham

Definition of Urban Growth Area-1) “Each county that is required or chooses to plan under RCW 36.70A.040 (Growth Management Act) shall designate an urban growth area or areas within which urban growth shall be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature…”

The Fourth Corner received a tip that the Lummi Request was on the Bellingham City Council Agenda for the August 14th Meeting:

“Agenda Item #21704    2. Discussion of the Potential Economic Impacts of Providing
Water Service to the Lummi Nation.”

Here is what was presented in open meeting…To Summarize:

  • The Lummi Nation has asked the City of Bellingham for 300,000 to 600,000 gallons a day of water for their development at Slater Road. Bellingham Herald Coverage of Development.
    • Request received September 12th, 2016
    • 16″ City Water Main is 2000 feet from proposed development.
    • City believes the Lummi Nation and the City can come to an accommodation
    • Possible usage of the Real Estate is unknown at this time and it could vary widely from Light Industrial, to Hospitality, to Retail to Housing.
  • The City commissioned a study to check out the financial effects of providing water.
  • The Study provides at estimate of $300,000 to $1.6 million loss of revenue to the City of Bellingham Per Year depending on what the project really becomes.
    • B & O and sales tax for the City of Bellingham alone is included in the study.
    • Scenarios based on four models.
    • Property tax increases/decreases are not included.
  • The City’s conclusion states that the water transfer would not necessarily be in the city of Bellingham’s best interest at this time. The Mayor states that the possible loss of revenue to the city is the cause. See Memorandum here.


  • Kelli Linville Mayor of Bellingham

    Possible agreements to move forward.  Finally the Mayor wishes to continue to talk to the tribe about how to move Bellingham’s Best Interest “to a more positive place” by discussing a list of possible agreements between the city and the Tribe that the City of Bellingham staff has constructed. See Full Letter Here. 

    • Samples from the letter:
    • Potential Lummi Nation Interest:

      • “The City (would) supports the Lummi Nation’s efforts to quantify its water right on the Nooksack River.”
    • City of Bellingham Interest:

      • “The Lummi Nation (would) Supports establishment of additional points of diversion and the the addition of irrigation as a use for the City’s Nooksack River Water Right.”

You decide… Since the Lummi Nation supports no water for rural development should one of the “points of interests” be about the ongoing problems with the Democratic Controlled State House not voting on the Hirst legislation?


  1. THIS pisses me off, talk about double-dealing! I have a neighbor whose well went dry and he’s been denied hooking up to B’ham’s water supply. He cannot drill a new well because of the Hirst decision, but he’s denied access to municipal water? IF the Lummis succeed in this endeavor, I’d call that a clear case of discrimination. Perhaps he should sue the city.

  2. Ron is exactly right about this. There is something wrong with the way the Democrats are approaching all the projects that involve water. The idea that they intend to ignore the ramifications of the Hirst decision–which has, in effect, taken away private property owner’s right to develop their land–while allowing interests they favor, to proceed, whether they really have enough water or not. This Court decision is grossly unfair to the land owners, who, all of a sudden cannot build on their own land while projects the Democrats favor proceed.

  3. Democrats will bend over backwards to agree. The tribes have been the most consistent and quick donors of large sums.
    I like the actual project but how the tribe accomplishes its land use and avoids regulation would land any other developer in jail.
    Since Democrats have given up even the pretense that citizens live outside cities we should expect a fairly quick ( water approval of some sort) for the tribe all while there is no ” real solution for the Hirst decision.
    Most likely Wash state Dems will pretend these two issues have no relationship to each other.


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