Frank J. Chmelik2023-09-21T11:21:43-07:00

Frank J. Chmelik


Frank Chmelik represents businesses and governments throughout Washington State.   As a long-time municipal lawyer, he routinely provides advice on municipal law including litigation, public contracting, public records and governance issues.   As an experienced business lawyer, he is the general counsel to many northwest Washington businesses, construction companies, and cooperatives providing a broad range of business and litigation advice.  As a well-respected environmental lawyer, he advises business and governments on regulatory compliance issues including stormwater and operational permits; on remediation of complex former industrial sites and sediment sites; and on recovery of remedial costs from other liable parties and historic insurance carriers.  Blending business, municipal, and environmental law, Frank has worked with businesses and governments throughout the State on redevelopment or repurposing of historically contaminated industrial Brownfield sites.  Frank was a legal member of the consulting team for the Department of Ecology that authored a report on Brownfield redevelopment.  Frank is the general counsel for the Washington Public Ports Association in Olympia, Washington where he authors a monthly column on municipal legal issues.

Frank Chmelik started his legal career as a U.S. Army JAG Corps officer where he served as a prosecutor and defense counsel at Fort Lewis.  He then worked for the Seattle law firm, Karr Tuttle Campbell. In 1987, he moved to Bellingham where he co-founded the firm.

Each year, since 1999, when the selection began, Frank has been chosen by Washington Law & Politics Magazine as a “Super Lawyer®” representing the top 5% of the lawyers in Washington.  Frank has served as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Military Law and in 2014,  he was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


  • Claremont McKenna College (B.A., cum laude, Political Science
    and Economics, 1978)
  • Hastings College of Law (J.D., 1981)

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association – admitted (1984)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association – admitted (1982)
  • California State Bar Association – admitted (1981)
  • United States District Court – Northern District of California
  • United States District Court – Western District of Washington
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Whatcom County Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Bellingham Bay Rotary Club, Member
  • Mount Baker Chapter of the American Red Cross, Chair of Board
  • Bellingham YWCA, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Former Volunteer Firefighter/EMT, Local fire district

Practice Areas

Business Law

Environmental Law




Office: 360.671.1796

Direct: 360.306.3001

Related Articles

January 2024 Knowing the Waters

In communities across the State, port districts are working on significant projects that benefit their communities such as expanding broadband service, marina improvements, development of marginal lands into business parks, to name a few.

November 2023 Knowing the Waters – Free Speech

We were recently asked about the ability of protestors coming to a port district to protest the handling of a certain type of cargo at a port shipping terminal (we don’t know the nature of the cargo). The subject of this month’s column is port districts and use of port property for speech related activities.

October 2023 Knowing the Waters

Back in July 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Knowing the Waters addressed the impacts of Governor Inslee’s emergency proclamations concerning residential tenancies on port districts with liveaboard moorage customers, recreational vehicle (“RV”) parks, and other similar facilities.

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