By Mayor Kelli Linville
In the last eight years, too many things have been accomplished in Bellingham to name them all. But as I reflect on my two terms as mayor, these are some that stick out in my mind.
- Investments In Our Downtown. Downtown has blossomed and we remain a committed partner with our businesses and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. This includes developing a Downtown Retail Strategy and hiring a new retail recruiter, as well as supporting low-income and homeless-housing projects that have provided more than 160 new units downtown.
- City Center Awards. This is our third year presenting the City Center Awards, which recognize and celebrate some of the outstanding achievements and exceptional private projects that have led to the revitalization of Bellingham’s City Center neighborhood.
- Waterfront Redevelopment. Working with the Port of Bellingham, the city has provided the first public access to the central waterfront with the development of a master plan for the site, as well as creating Waypoint Park and new streets into the area.
- Bellingham Home Fund. Bellingham voters renewed the Bellingham Home Fund last year, which authorizes $40 million over a 10-year period to continue preserving housing and assisting hundreds of low-income residents and those facing homelessness in Bellingham.
- Biennial Budget. Transitioning from a one-year to a two-year budget has meant we can be more efficient and strategic with our investments in the community and focus on implementing our work plans.
- Renovation of City Facilities. We now use our city buildings more efficiently after moving several departments to the previously vacant Federal Building downtown, as well as relocating the Parks Department to City Hall.
- Protecting Lake Whatcom. The city provides clean drinking water for more than 100,000 people in Whatcom County. The City of Bellingham—along with our partners at Whatcom County and the Lake Whatcom Sewer and Water District—developed a joint plan to protect the watershed and improve drinking-water quality.
- Galbraith Mountain. Preserving Galbraith for conservation and recreation has been a long-term goal of the city. Last year’s purchase-and-sale agreement secured public use of up to 65 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain in perpetuity.
- Community Policing and Public Health. Our neighborhood police and behavioral-health officers and community paramedics support a new way to look at public safety, through building relationships and proactively meeting the health and safety needs of our community.
- Jail Alternatives. The city has developed a jail alternatives and diversion program through Municipal Court that incorporates electronic home monitoring and other alternatives to reduce incarceration time and provide better outcomes in our criminal-justice system.
- Public Works Projects. We have spent more than $839 million on public-works improvements, including water- and sewerage-treatment projects and voter-approved Transportation Benefit District projects for pedestrians, bicycles, and transit. Our city and our community have seen progress in many areas, but these are a few of the items I’m most grateful for. Serving my hometown has been the best and most rewarding job of my 41-year career.
I have achieved much of what I set out to accomplish. And I am proud to have strengthened connections and communications among city employees, partners, and the community. With help from my great department-head team and staff, we have moved forward on many successful projects and collaborations.
As I look forward, I am confident that our staff and new Mayor will continue to move us in the right direction. Thanks to all of you for your support, dedication, and hard work over the years to make Bellingham what it is today. It has been a privilege and an honor to be your mayor.
Kelli Linville has served as Bellingham Mayor since January 2012. Her second term ends Dec. 31, and she didn’t run for re-election.