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


“Eminently a team player and able to assimilate diverse viewpoints. Seth has helped build and strengthen a number of key coalitions on the council, the kind that get things done. He’s one of those people who has found greatness in public office, a strength and resolve to do the right thing.” Cascadia Weekly, 2005

“Fleetwood knows the most important issues facing the county and is a prime mover in addressing them in the right way. He is a leader at a time when our community needs them the most.” The Bellingham Herald, Editorial Board, “Fleetwood Leads When Leadership is Needed,” October 20, 2005

“He’s been on the right side of the issues for as far back as I can see…you can go back years.” J. Lynne Walker, Former City Council Clerk, 2018

“I share much common political territory with Seth Fleetwood, but my admiration is not based on common ground. He is willing to take on any issue regardless of the players. He does so with a clear rational statement of his intentions. He listens to other views and considers them. His greatest strengths are patience and perseverance. He does not let issues drop, but works to build support over months and years if need be.” Clayton Medeiros, Strategic Planning and Marketing Consultant, “Voices Column,” Bellingham Herald, 2007

“Seth Fleetwood has heart and credentials.” Susan Donnelly, Bellingham Resident, 2015


Pickford Cinema – Independent Film Enthusiast

Mountain Climbing

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival Aficionado


28 Year Participant – Ski to Sea Race


On a Healthy, Thriving Economy:

Long time proponent and supporter of comprehensive economic development strategy. Promotes fostering a business culture that promotes a strong, local economy. Committed to 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.

On Growth:

In 2004, sponsored and co-founded, with former City Councilwoman Barbara Ryan, the Bellingham Growth Forums which sought to create recommendations for how Bellingham could thoughtfully densify in ways that would make Bellingham an even better City and reduce pressures to expand into our finite countryside. The effort won an American Planning Award for outstanding public process and the recommendations were incorporated into the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan as the preferred method for infill.

On Affordable Housing:

In 2007, sponsored and co-founded, with the late City Councilwoman, Joan Beardsley, the Countywide Housing Affordability Taskforce that worked painstakingly with a politically diverse cross section of citizens to create recommendations on how to deliver affordable housing. The recommendations included a proposal to establish a publicly funded housing fund which was later cited as authority by the proponents of the highly successful Bellingham Home Fund which has assisted thousands of low income Bellingham residents.

On Towards Zero Waste:

In 2011, worked with Jill MacIntyre Witt and Brooks Anderson to draft, sponsor, and promote the Bellingham Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance which was passed 7-0 by the Bellingham City Council. The ordinance was later adopted by the City of Seattle and described by the New York Times as the “Bellingham Model.” The bag reduction movement observes that when we discuss ‘bags’ we really are discussing the whole throw away culture and urges us to support efforts to create strategies that minimize all single-use materials.

On Greenways:

A long time proponent and architect of Bellingham Greenways Program with experience chairing the Greenways Advisory Committee and also chairing multiple campaign levies. The Greenways program has protected important environmental corridors while building open spaces for people, wildlife, and vegetation. Greenways, perhaps the most popular program in our city’s history, has created new and beloved public parks and trails throughout our community and established the form of a vital green infrastructure for our citizens.

On A Vibrant Waterfront:

As President of the Bellingham City Council in 2013, collaborated with fellow council members, city staff, Port officials, and citizens to oversee the process, negotiation, and timing of the final adoption of the Waterfront Master Plan after a decade of planning and consideration. The completion and adoption of this document, known as The Waterfront District Sub-Area Plan, has permitted the beginning steps of what promises to be an exciting and thriving mixed-use area that brings people to the waterfront.

On Climate Change:

In 2015, as an Al Gore trained member of the The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, had the good fortune to volunteer at the UN Paris Climate Conference, known as COP21, where the entire world for the first time committed to convert to renewable energy. Currently, Chair the Whatcom County Climate Impact Advisory Committee that is authorized and empowered to offer bold recommendations that will help the residents of Whatcom County achieve energy independence through 100% renewable energy and prepare for needed adaptations.

On Protecting Lake Whatcom:

Throughout the 1990’s, worked with the Watershed Defense Fund and the Clean Water Alliance to urge needed protections for Lake Whatcom. In the 2000’s, as a member of the Whatcom County Council, supported and promoted a range of substantive protections to help build a full protection program for Lake Whatcom. In 2006, drafted and sponsored the resolution and funding amendment that resulted in creation of the Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan for Lake Whatcom.