Community

Don’t Fence Us Out

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

On July 4, hundreds of folks gathered in the vast cobbled field on the Bellingham waterfront to hear musicians and speakers and to watch performances promoting racial justice. Also on that day some folks crossed Granary Avenue to paint racial justice messages on a block-long plywood construction fence. The vibe was festive. No authorities objected to the fact of social/political art being applied to the fence.

On July 14, I was busily adding some postered messages about housing justice to the mix on the fence when I was accosted by the project manager for Harcourt Developments. Without benefit of COVID mask, he rushed up to me and violently ripped the poster that I was gluing to the wall out of my hands. A verbal confrontation ensued until two Bellingham Police officers skillfully calmed the hard-hat-wearing fellow.

The cops respectfully sought information and helped negotiate a peaceful end to the dispute. I chose to remove the posters for the time being.

There are plenty of sources for information about the Port of Bellingham’s contract with the man’s employer, Harcourt Developments, and the roadblock that the contract presents to development—particularly of affordable housing on the waterfront.

Thanks for reading my anecdote about the fence, but what I really want to write about is—

HOUSING JUSTICE

Roughly half of Bellingham residents are cost-burdened by rent or mortgage payments. That means they pay more than 30 percent of monthly household income for housing. Many pay way more.

The fact of cost burdening means less to spend at local businesses, more need to work long hours, less time with friends and family and, sometimes, less food or medicine.

Land prices and other factors make it almost impossible for builders to make it pencil to construct homes for the lower 50 percent. The potential to build affordably is increased if the land is owned by a nonprofit or a municipality or another public entity like, you guessed it, the Port of Bellingham.

The port’s main mission is to promote economic development.

I, among many other housing activists, contend that affordable housing is, indeed, economic development.
Every market-rate home that is built today in our town is a step away from meeting the home affordability needs of the people in the lower half of the income spectrum. It should be among the highest priorities of public policy to rectify this problem.

The city, county and port are not, despite many genuinely good intentions and tries, tying their policies and actions to the metric of meeting the actual home and shelter needs of their taxpaying citizens.

The energy for change in this time of racial justice protests could and should be used to address the oppression of high housing costs that disproportionately affects people of color.

Michael Chiavario has lived in Bellingham since 1968. He retired from his job at Whatcom County Parks after 20 years of service in 2015.For more perspective, http://www.nwcitizen.com/entry/sink-swim-or-divorce-options-narrow-for-our-relationship-with-harcourt

Past Columns
Give Hope for the Holidays

November 24, 2021

Climate Action Plan

September 1, 2021

Support Transportation Fund

October 21, 2020

Census Countdown

September 30, 2020

Back to the wild

May 6, 2020

Every Other Weekly?

April 1, 2020

Unified Command

March 18, 2020

Kids World

January 29, 2020

Fierce Urgency of Now

January 15, 2020

The Three Rs

December 18, 2019

Saying Goodbye

December 11, 2019

Cold and Alone

December 4, 2019

Big Money Politics

November 13, 2019

A Win for the Birds

July 24, 2019

Road to ‘Nowhere’

June 26, 2019

Game Changes

April 24, 2019

Salish Sea Science

January 23, 2019

Cherry Point Amendments

January 16, 2019

Saturday
Paintings of My Life, In Dialogue

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Feb. 23 (closed on Thanksgiving) at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a…

Holiday Bazaar

8:00am

Peruse glassworks, woodworks, metalworks, jewelry, paintings, knit-wear and more at a Holiday Bazaar featuring one-of-a-kind gifts from Whatcom County artists from 8am-5pm daily through…

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Allied Arts’ annual Holiday Festival of the Arts takes place from 10am-7pm daily through Dec. 24 (except on Thanksgiving) at 1411 Railroad Ave. The five-week-long festival will feature works…

Salmon Sighting with NSEA

10:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for the final Salmon Sighting events of the season taking place from 10am-1pm Friday, and 12pm-3pm Saturday at Bellingham’s Arroyo Park. Join…

Future Artifacts

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Nov. 27 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Whidbey Art Market

10:00am

After a year’s hiatus, Whidbey Art Market returns from 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday in Freeland at Freeland Hall, 1515 Shoreview Dr. There will be something for everyone—oil, acrylic,…

Amy Popelka at Good Earth

11:00am

Works by featured artist Amy Popelka can be seen for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 11am-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

Small Arts Works Juried Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Small Art Works” regional juried art show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Jan. 13 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St.…

Studio Conversations

11:00am

Anita Lehmann’s “Studio Conversations: Short Stories” can be viewed from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through November in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Masks…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Dia de los Muertos: A Day of Remembrance,”…

Lorna Libert at Scott Milo

11:00am

New Pacific Northwest oils by Bellingham-based artist Lorna Libert will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 27 at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Dendritic Signals

11:00am

View “Dendritic Signals” for the final week from 11am-4pm Wednesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The show features abstract artwork in a variety of mediums and colors,…

Morris and Obbink

11:00am

View works by sculptor Ann Morris and landscape-inspired watercolors and colored pencil works by Kim Obbink for the final weekend from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith &…

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Among the Trees

11:00am

Check out the invitational exhibit “Among the Trees” for the final week from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The show features works by numerous…

Up Close and Personal at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art,” “Artists x Artists,” “The Fairhaven Hotel,” “People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the Tribal Cultures and History of the…

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm

The annual “Deck the Old City Hall” returns starting this weekend from 12pm-5pm Friday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. View a variety of themed, decorated…

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm

Attend “A Drive-Thru Christmas” from 5pm-10pm Friday through Sunday in Stanwood at Warm Beach Park, 20800 Marine Dr. The illuminating experience features more than a million lights, festive…

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7:30pm

Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph will make appearances when Music Theatre International’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed…

Genre Legends

7:30pm

At 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, “Genre Legends” will take the stage at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. Watch the players pick multiple genres for each show and…

A Christmas Carol

8:00pm

One of the Skagit Valley’s favorite holiday traditions continues when A Christmas Carol opens this weekend with showings at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 2:30pm Sunday in Mount Vernon at the…

Shakedown Shows

9:00pm

Fretts, JP Falcon Grady, and an “It’s Kizmet” drag show start at 9pm Fri., Nov. 26 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The COVID Relief Benefit Show for Make.Shift Art Space will be followed…

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am

Attend a Pancake Breakfast from 8am-10am at Ferndale’s American Legion Post #154, 5537 2nd Ave. Entry is $3 for kids 12 and under, $6 for adults.

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for a Work Party from 9am-12pm at Squalicum Creek. Volunteers will be planting and mulching native trees and shrubs to increase stream health…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The Bellingham Farmers Market continues its 29th season from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December 18 at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. Attendees can expect about 60-70 vendors per…

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11:00am

Attend opening day for “Honey, I Shrunk the Art” from 11am-7pm on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way. The annual multi-artist small works show can…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters host a Share Spot from 12pm-1:30pm every Saturday offering free food to take or share in the employee parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest…

Holiday Market at Twin Sisters

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Holiday Market at BBB

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

Twin Sisters Holiday Market

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Boundary Bay Brewery Holiday Market

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

An Elvis Family Christmas

1:00pm

Kick off the holidays and award-winning impersonator Danny Vernon for “An Elvis Family Christmas” at 1pm and 6pm in Anacortes at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge’s Walton Event Center, 12885…

Semiahmoo Sips

2:00pm

From 2pm-4pm every Saturday, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a…

Chuckanut Bay Distillery Tour

4:00pm

Learn more about the inner workings of a true grain-to-glass distillery when local historians the Good Time Girls lead 21-and-older tasting tours at 4pm Saturdays at Chuckanut Bay Distillery,…

Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses

4:00pm

As part of Small Business Saturday, attend a Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses from 4pm-9pm at the Granary, 1211 Granary Ave. All vendors will donate 10 percent of…

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7:00pm

Steve Webb and his band the Great Mad Swirl will make music from 7pm-9pm at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The local trio are known for blending a powerfully rich…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

7:00pm

The Walrus performs at 7pm and Spaceband takes the stage at 9:30pm Sat., Nov. 27 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming events include John Craigie with special…

Sunday
Paintings of My Life, In Dialogue

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Feb. 23 (closed on Thanksgiving) at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a…

Holiday Bazaar

8:00am

Peruse glassworks, woodworks, metalworks, jewelry, paintings, knit-wear and more at a Holiday Bazaar featuring one-of-a-kind gifts from Whatcom County artists from 8am-5pm daily through…

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Allied Arts’ annual Holiday Festival of the Arts takes place from 10am-7pm daily through Dec. 24 (except on Thanksgiving) at 1411 Railroad Ave. The five-week-long festival will feature works…

Salmon Sighting with NSEA

10:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for the final Salmon Sighting events of the season taking place from 10am-1pm Friday, and 12pm-3pm Saturday at Bellingham’s Arroyo Park. Join…

Future Artifacts

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Nov. 27 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Whidbey Art Market

10:00am

After a year’s hiatus, Whidbey Art Market returns from 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday in Freeland at Freeland Hall, 1515 Shoreview Dr. There will be something for everyone—oil, acrylic,…

Amy Popelka at Good Earth

11:00am

Works by featured artist Amy Popelka can be seen for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 11am-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

Small Arts Works Juried Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Small Art Works” regional juried art show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Jan. 13 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St.…

Studio Conversations

11:00am

Anita Lehmann’s “Studio Conversations: Short Stories” can be viewed from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through November in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Masks…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Dia de los Muertos: A Day of Remembrance,”…

Lorna Libert at Scott Milo

11:00am

New Pacific Northwest oils by Bellingham-based artist Lorna Libert will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 27 at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Dendritic Signals

11:00am

View “Dendritic Signals” for the final week from 11am-4pm Wednesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The show features abstract artwork in a variety of mediums and colors,…

Morris and Obbink

11:00am

View works by sculptor Ann Morris and landscape-inspired watercolors and colored pencil works by Kim Obbink for the final weekend from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith &…

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Among the Trees

11:00am

Check out the invitational exhibit “Among the Trees” for the final week from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The show features works by numerous…

Up Close and Personal at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art,” “Artists x Artists,” “The Fairhaven Hotel,” “People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the Tribal Cultures and History of the…

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm

The annual “Deck the Old City Hall” returns starting this weekend from 12pm-5pm Friday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. View a variety of themed, decorated…

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm

Attend “A Drive-Thru Christmas” from 5pm-10pm Friday through Sunday in Stanwood at Warm Beach Park, 20800 Marine Dr. The illuminating experience features more than a million lights, festive…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

7:30pm

Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph will make appearances when Music Theatre International’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed…

Genre Legends

7:30pm

At 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, “Genre Legends” will take the stage at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. Watch the players pick multiple genres for each show and…

A Christmas Carol

8:00pm

One of the Skagit Valley’s favorite holiday traditions continues when A Christmas Carol opens this weekend with showings at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 2:30pm Sunday in Mount Vernon at the…

Shakedown Shows

9:00pm

Fretts, JP Falcon Grady, and an “It’s Kizmet” drag show start at 9pm Fri., Nov. 26 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The COVID Relief Benefit Show for Make.Shift Art Space will be followed…

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am

Attend a Pancake Breakfast from 8am-10am at Ferndale’s American Legion Post #154, 5537 2nd Ave. Entry is $3 for kids 12 and under, $6 for adults.

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for a Work Party from 9am-12pm at Squalicum Creek. Volunteers will be planting and mulching native trees and shrubs to increase stream health…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The Bellingham Farmers Market continues its 29th season from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December 18 at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. Attendees can expect about 60-70 vendors per…

Open Day for Honey, I Shrunk the Art

11:00am

Attend opening day for “Honey, I Shrunk the Art” from 11am-7pm on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way. The annual multi-artist small works show can…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters host a Share Spot from 12pm-1:30pm every Saturday offering free food to take or share in the employee parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest…

Holiday Market at Twin Sisters

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Holiday Market at BBB

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

Twin Sisters Holiday Market

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Boundary Bay Brewery Holiday Market

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

An Elvis Family Christmas

1:00pm

Kick off the holidays and award-winning impersonator Danny Vernon for “An Elvis Family Christmas” at 1pm and 6pm in Anacortes at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge’s Walton Event Center, 12885…

Semiahmoo Sips

2:00pm

From 2pm-4pm every Saturday, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a…

Chuckanut Bay Distillery Tour

4:00pm

Learn more about the inner workings of a true grain-to-glass distillery when local historians the Good Time Girls lead 21-and-older tasting tours at 4pm Saturdays at Chuckanut Bay Distillery,…

Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses

4:00pm

As part of Small Business Saturday, attend a Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses from 4pm-9pm at the Granary, 1211 Granary Ave. All vendors will donate 10 percent of…

Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl

7:00pm

Steve Webb and his band the Great Mad Swirl will make music from 7pm-9pm at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The local trio are known for blending a powerfully rich…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

7:00pm

The Walrus performs at 7pm and Spaceband takes the stage at 9:30pm Sat., Nov. 27 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming events include John Craigie with special…