Search
Close this search box.
Welcome to our new website. Share your feedback with us.

36-year-old man found dead at Bellingham homeless encampment

Medical examiner: Cause of death pending

A handmade sign is propped up on a tree just outside an entrance to a homeless encampment near Walmart on Sept. 29.
A handmade sign is propped up on a tree just outside an entrance to a homeless encampment near Walmart on Sept. 29.
By Ralph Schwartz Local Government Reporter

Bellingham police found a deceased male at a wooded homeless encampment near Walmart on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Officers responded at 4:59 a.m. on Saturday to the camp, located on private property southeast of the intersection of Deemer and East Stuart roads. They discovered an “obviously deceased” man in a makeshift structure made of wood and tarps, Bellingham police Lt. Claudia Murphy said.

The Whatcom County medical examiner identified the man as Juan Cortez-Lopez, 36. His cause and manner of death were pending as of Thursday, Oct. 19.

The encampment, dubbed “The Hundred Acre Opioid Wood” on Google Maps, has been a source of growing concern among residents of the nearby Tullwood Apartments. 

Resident Shelli Tench spoke to Bellingham City Council on Sept. 25, describing fighting, yelling and threats coming daily from residents of the encampment.

“What I want to know is, what is your timeline for removing it and what do you want the tenants to do because we live in hell, and we all believe this city does not care,” Tench told the council.

This story was updated at 2:02 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19 with the name of the deceased individual.

Latest stories

Agency states that device allows cartels to create fakes that look like prescription medication
Feb. 27, 2024 11:58 a.m.
Both cite personal, health reasons as board begins to weigh budget cuts
Feb. 26, 2024 10:00 p.m.
City raises expectations on landlords by adopting new ordinance
Feb. 26, 2024 8:27 p.m.

Have a news tip?

Email newstips@cascadiadaily.com or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition

Sign up for our free email newsletters