Housing pressures spark new look at inclusionary zoning
Inclusionary zoning policies that either incentivize or require developers to include some units in construction projects that qualify as affordable housing are being reexamined as a way to provide much-needed affordable housing in Bellingham.
2021: A look back at some stories from the first full year of Salish Current
2021 was a year like no other, with themes such as public health vis-à-vis COVID-19 and opioid addiction; social justice in the courts, the arts, housing and policing; and climate change and natural resources including water rights management. Salish Current offers a look back via articles published during the nonprofit newsroom’s first full year.
Growth in local cannabis business amplifies challenges as well as revenues
Cannabis industries in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties have experienced a large increase in both revenue for retailers and excise tax proceeds for governments over the past two years. But sales growth means competition for supplies and workspace, and smaller, more locally based businesses are struggling to keep a foothold among the bigger players.
Summer of rallies, marches sparks multiple approaches toward social justice in Whatcom
Calls from the streets of Whatcom County last year for social justice have inspired new groups to form and older ones to revitalize, as each takes its own approach to creating a more equitable community.
Skagit fair sates longing for fun and ‘normalcy’ in face of COVID-19
After a year’s hiatus, the Skagit County Fair resumed Aug. 11-14 with an increased attendance over past years — despite COVID-19 infections spiking in the county.
Community Voices / Addressing climate change in Whatcom County
Climate change effects are here, and the Whatcom County’s Climate Impact Advisory Committee is calling for establishment of an Office of Climate Action to lead planning to deal with the multiple problems climate change is bringing now and in the near future.
Years in the making, amendments ban new coal or oil industries, new shipping terminals at Cherry Point
No new oil- or coal-based industries will be allowed at Cherry Point west of Ferndale under Whatcom County’s latest — and groundbreaking — Comprehensive Plan amendments, following a unanimous vote by the county council.
As gun death rates rise in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, state refocuses to public health approach
With the number of gun deaths in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties on the rise and outpacing statewide trends, policy and law makers are stressing public health-focused solutions that could be more effective in prevention than legal tactics.
Ready to vote? 40th and 42nd district candidates tell where they stand on policing, COVID, more
Policies and funding decisions set at the state level have profound influence on our daily lives — and our long-term safety, health and well-being. Salish Current editors invited candidates for 40th and 42nd Legislative District House and Senate seats to answer questions on ten topics.
From the Editor / Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
Students, teachers step up to remote-learning challenges — with help — as school year begins
School districts have worked since spring to ensure they’re adequately prepared for the 2020-2021 school year. Many, including here in Whatcom County, are receiving local, state and federal funding to help build infrastructure for remote learning.
‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions
Local activists are advocating for a 50% reduction in the Bellingham Police Department budget, even as BPD says it could use more resources for meeting the calls it routinely answers now — including a large number related to behavioral health and social welfare. While reformers would like to see change soon, community-wide conversations are just beginning, and the eventual direction and pace of change are as yet unknown.
Community Voices / Busier-than-ever librarians connect people with books, job ads, even food during COVID shutdown
Whatcom County libraries have been closed to the public for over two months now. Despite the closures, staff have been busier than ever, working from home and pitching in wherever possible to provide services to the public.
In-person comment is out, for now: local governments adapt to life under COVID
City and county councils and commissions across Washington state are finding new ways to conduct their public meetings since Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order March 23, requiring local governing bodies to temporarily halt their in-person meetings.
Community Voices / Kids in the time of COVID
Very few kids would trade being able to see and hang out with friends, participate in football and other sports, go to restaurants now and then, and even go to school every day for being confined at home with their families, all day, every day. But that’s where they are for now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools around Washington state.