Monday, June 13, 2005

Organizations who wish to slow growth in Bellingham ought to frame the front page

of June tenth Bellingham Herald and hang it up in the office.

Two unrelated headlines:

"17 Years For Park Murder." "Bandido Sweep Nets Dozens."

Less people want to move to a crime ridden city.

Lot of folks don't realize how many problems have been in this area.

I am not really an anti growth whiner. When I moved here (yes I moved here too) I didn't come to escape a big city. The town I came from was smaller than Bellingham.

Back in the mid 1970s, I came to Bellingham from Pullman, WA. for that "go away to college experience."

My sister was living in Bellingham at the time and I remember sitting in her apartment with a view out over Bellingham Bay. One could see rough looking factories around the bay. Something Pullman didn't have since that town was much smaller, basically no factories.

I said I was worried that there would be crime in Bellingham and my sister said, "there is crime most places unless you live in Pullman all your life."

Of course, Pullman had crime also, but it was familiar turf.

It is amazing what can happen in any city with out one being aware of things. Bellingham has had the Washington, D.C. Sniper, the Hillside Strangler and Ted Bundy all reside in our city at one time or another.

Someone suggested a bar should name sandwiches after all the serial killers that have frequented there. The Ted Bundy Deluxe.

And now, not far from where I live, the Bandido's with a few of the kingpins operating from here.

I wasn't aware.

Then, I have bicycled through Los Angeles and did not see crime. Along the bike paths, things were nice. The crime was elsewhere.

Below posted March, 2005.

I dropped into Pro Whatcom's public meeting last night. That's an organization working to curb excessive growth in Whatcom County.

One thing they keep saying worries me.

They say Bellingham and Whatcom County is one of the last (or last) unspoiled regions along I-5 corridor.

Basically, I don't think that's true. It's false advertising.

Be careful what one says. When people hear that this is a "last chance for quality living along I-5," they rush to buy. "Get it before everything's gone." "Closeout sale." Merchants know how to heat up demand by saying "Special offer ends soon." Ironically, this is the opposite response to what Pro Whatcom slow growth advocates want.

The message needs to sound different.

In many ways, this area isn't that great compared to the rest of I-5. We just tend to be provincial.

For open space and unspoiled scenery, there is still a lot of it along the I-5 corridor. Try the area south of Eugene, Oregon. Try around Roseburg and Canyonville, Oregon. Lumber country, but sort of a throwback to a bygone era.

For those who say I-5's large cities are all devastated, I have news. Portland, Oregon is quite nice.

Cities can be better for alternative lifestyle people. Single, gay, non car owner? Cities can offer something more than lifestyles for "breeders" in their suburbia with 2 car garages. In cities one isn't as alone being child free or car free.

Things like this are beginning to work here, as we "densify."

If we think of ourselves as another urban center, it could scare people off, prevent people from adding kids to the family.


At the same time, I am not totally anti growth. Let the alternative minded people come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Cathy, I am from California and have come to know the beautiful city of Bellingham and it's hidden crime problems very well. My son once too came to Bellingham to spread his wings and be independent while on a short break from his own college studies. He was befriended by the street people who dwell around Holly & Railroad after dusk. My son was only 18 1/2, he was never in any fights at school or elsewhere, and never had any police record, he volunteered his help & free time with local charities, and still is a very talented musician. He only knew these street friends for 1 week, there was a fight involving 4 people, my son was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (knife over 4"), strangely enough one of the witness' involved in the fight disposed of the knife, never turning it over as evidence. Why? Was it his, or maybe the victims? The other 3 involved out weigh my son by atleast 50 lb.s, are atleast 2" taller, and have been friends for a long time. Each witness gives a different account, and a main witness contradicts her own statement to 2 different cops. We hired a local attorney in Bellingham who I beleive benefited himself, so now my son has almost finished him time. It's funny though how Bellingham's crime rate keeps increasing, did they really get the bad guy? Anyway nothing personal, like I said Bellingham is beautiful and I'm sure you're one of its great citizens.