About Seth


I am a self employed lawyer with an established reputation as a purpose-driven advocate for the public interest, with 25 years of service to the community, including two terms on the Bellingham City Council and two terms on the Whatcom County Council. I am committed to the ideal of continual progress and improvement through thoughtful, collaborative and compassionate leadership. I have a proven record of promoting numerous successful initiatives that address critical community issues. I have an ability to assimilate diverse viewpoints and build coalitions that make progress towards a forward-thinking, enlightened city. I am dedicated to achieving an inspired and hopeful vision for Bellingham.


  • Maintaining the highest quality level of essential public services for our residents
  • Working towards collaborative and effective solutions to Bellingham’s homelessness problem and home affordability
  • Committing to the creation of a robust environmental infrastructure of parks, trails and plazas
  • Ensuring that as we grow, infill, and densify, we do so in ways that only improve the quality and livability of Bellingham
  • Promoting an attitude and atmosphere that helps Bellingham become an inclusive, equitable and empowered community that values everyone
  • Adopting policies that acknowledge the realities of climate change and ensure a just transition to a clean energy future
  • Committing to Bellingham’s goal of maintaining a positive, competitive and sustainable business-friendly climate that will retain, grow, and attract high-quality, living wage businesses


  • Experienced in all levels of government with understanding of how to get things done
  • History of public spirited leadership on many issues with an understanding of how to work with councils
  • Clear vision of regional growth that improves our city and protects our natural resource lands
  • Legislative oversight on county and city councils with broad insight into government operations
  • Independent and genuinely sensitive to the feelings and opinions of others
  • Highly diplomatic in the art of administration
  • Sound and reliable methodology for analyzing issues of public concern


Growth – I sponsored and co-founded the Bellingham Growth Forums that began the community discussion on how to grow and resulted in recommendations in comprehensive plan for best practices to densify and infill

Affordable Housing – I sponsored and co-founded Countywide Housing Affordability Task Force that resulted in recommendations including creation of a Bellingham Home Fund

Zero Waste – I collaborated to draft, sponsor, and promote the Bellingham Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance that was replicated by Seattle and many other cities and is presently being considered for statewide adoption

Greenways – I was a chief proponent and architect of Bellingham Greenways Program that has made Bellingham a national leader in parks and trails and created beloved places like Taylor Street Dock, the Fairhaven Village Green and Birchwood Park, to mention only a few

Vibrant Waterfront – As City Council President, I collaborated to oversee the final process, negotiation, and timing of Waterfront Master Plan adoption that has resulted in commencement of the Waterfront development

Climate Change – I chair the Whatcom County Climate Impact Advisory Committee charged with delivering recommendations on adaptation plans and how to achieve 100% renewable energy in Whatcom County

Protecting Lake Whatcom – I drafted and sponsored the resolution and funding amendment for the creation of The Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan for Lake Whatcom

Healthy, Thriving Economy – I am actively committed to the City’s goal of building and maintaining a positive, competitive, and sustainable business-friendly climate that will retain, grow, and attract high-quality, living wage businesses


Attorney, Law Office of Seth Fleetwood, Bellingham, WA, 1995 – Present

City Council Member, Bellingham City Council, two terms, 2010 – 2014

County Council Member, Whatcom County Council, two terms, 2002 – 2010

Aide, Congressman Al Swift, Bellingham, 100th Congress, 1987 – 1988

Legislative Intern, Washington State Legislative Session, 1986


Juris Doctorate, Willamette University, Salem, OR – 1992

Bachelor of Arts, Major: Political Science, Minor: Spanish, University of Washington, Seattle, WA – 1986

Foreign Exchange Student, University of Guadalajara Language School, Guadalajara, Mexico – 1986

Foreign Exchange Student, Western Washington University Foreign Exchange Program, Greece – 1982

Graduate, Sehome High School, Bellingham, WA – 1981


Best Public Official, 2002, 2007, 2014 – Cascadia Weekly

Citizen of the Year, 2013 – Whatcom County Realtors

Workers Rights Champion, 2007 – Jobs with Justice

Governor’s Smart Communities Award for Housing Affordability, 2010 – State of Washington

Environmental Hero Award, 2013 – RE Sources for Sustainable Communities

Countywide Housing Affordability Task Force Award, 2008 – Whatcom County and City of Bellingham

Certificate of Appreciation, 2015 – Birchwood Neighborhood Association

Certificate of Completion, 2018 – Interest Based Mediation Training, Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

3rd Place Finisher, 2018 – 20th Annual Boundary Bay Extreme Croquet Tournament 😉


Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, 2018 – Present

Climate Impact Advisory Committee, Whatcom County, 2018 – Present

Climate Reality Project Leader and Bellingham Chapter Leadership Boardmember, 2015 – Present

Chuckanut Conservancy, 1998 – Present

People for Puget Sound, 2010 – 2013

Whatcom Council of Governments, 2002 – 2010

Whatcom Transportation Authority, 2002 – 2010

Countywide Housing Affordability Task Force, 2007 – 2008

Bellingham City Club, 1999 – 2001

Washington Conservation Voters, Whatcom Chapter, 1995 – 2001

Greenways Advisory Committee, 1994 – 2000

Bellingham 2000-Millenial Planning Process, 1999

Kulshan Community Land Trust, Founding Member, 1999

Watershed Defense Fund, 1993 – 1998


Pickford Cinema – Independent Film Enthusiast

Mountain Climbing

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival Aficionado


28 Year Participant – Ski to Sea Race