Encampment to be cleared in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — People camping at the Geri Fields lower parking lot in Bellingham will have until Tuesday to pack up their things and leave, as the city will begin cleanup and repairs at the park area.

Officials said City Public Works and Parks crews will bring equipment to clean the debris and store belongings.

Some of the equipment will include trucks and loaders to carry items for storage and for disposal.

On Monday, the city will provide those living at the park with a dumpster ahead of Tuesday’s sweep.

Additional staff will also be at the park to remind people the encampment is ending, provide information about shelter options, accept belongings for proper storage and help with transportation access.

Officials said law enforcement will only be brought in as a last resort if crews are confronted with any form of violence and efforts are not successful, as teams will be there to help campers move to safe shelter.

On March 11, an outreach team had already spoken with many of those living at the encampment.

Last week, the city’s mayor said the camp poses a health and safety concern.

There have already been two fires at the encampment in the past few weeks.

Many of the people at Geri Fields had moved there after the city cleared the encampment outside of the city hall.

Several protesters were arrested when they tried to stop the sweep.