Remembering Douglas F. Welebir, Loma Linda’s First Mayor

spectrummagazine.org | 6/20/2018 | Staff
blacky (Posted by) Level 3


Redlands, California attorney Douglas F. Welebir, Loma Linda’s first mayor, died May 8 following an extended illness. Services for the Inland resident of 65 years occurred on Saturday, June 9.

Welebir, 75, had been a practicing personal injury lawyer for the past 50 years, including on the Stringfellow Acid Pits trial in which thousands of residents of what is now the city of Jurupa Valley sought compensation in the early 1990s claiming a leaking toxic dump in the hills above was making them sick.

Doug - Welebir - Words - Integrity - Kind

“When you think of Doug Welebir, the words that come up are integrity, kind, funny, and really nurturing,” said Penny Newman, a local activist who worked with him on the case, and stayed in touch with him since.

In 1962, Welebir received his bachelor’s degree from La Sierra College in Riverside, now La Sierra University. He went on to receive his law degree from USC School of Law in 1965.

Age - Committee - Town - Loma - Linda

At the age of 25 he was asked to help a committee working to incorporate what was then the small town of Loma Linda, and in 1970, at the age of 26 the young lawyer was voted in as the new city’s first mayor.

Over the next four years he ushered the city through its infancy. His biggest accomplishment in that time, said his widow, Constance Welebir, was bringing in the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Hospital.

Welebir - Members - Incorporation - Committee - Streets

Welebir and members of the incorporation committee have streets named after them on the south end of town.

The founder of the Welebir Tierney law firm, one of his biggest cases was as lead plaintiff’s counsel in the acid pits trial which resulted in a $110 million settlement for 4,300 plaintiffs.

Time - Plaintiffs - Lives - Public - Health

“It was a hard time because the plaintiffs really had their whole lives opened up to the public to view: your health issues, everything. And Doug...
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