Bellingham leadership is taking a new direction under the new Mayor Kim Lund. With this change in leadership comes new and exciting efforts that are directed at rebuilding a healthier, more vibrant downtown Bellingham. Since the pandemic, crime, an increase homelessness, vandalism, and rampant drug use have beleaguered downtown Bellingham, causing many businesses to consider relocating away from downtown. Mayor Lund is clear about the direction that she wants downtown Bellingham to take and has already taken action by implementing the following new measures:

  • Increasing cleaning and sanitation
  • Toughening drug law enforcement and strengthening downtown police presence
  • Expanding access to drug-treatment options
  • Opening a downtown office to serve as a hub for police, firefighters, and other responders

With these renewed efforts (and more to come), there is hope that there will no longer be an acceptance or complacency of a downtown Bellingham that feels unsafe and unwelcoming. Instead, by increasing police presence and involvement downtown, businesses should feel more supported. Referring to a more involved police force, Mayor Lund says “store owners should expect police to stop in. They’ll be asking how things are going. That is the foundation for a relationship-based community policing model.”

Also on the horizon is the much-anticipated grand opening of the Lighthouse Mission’s new 300-bed homeless shelter at 910 W Holly Street. The opening date is set for September 2024 with occupancy in October. This will also mean that Base Camp, the low-barrier access homeless shelter operated by Lighthouse Mission and located in the former Public Market building (1530 Cornwall) should be closing in October.

Saratoga has a huge stake in the health and well-being of downtown Bellingham, and we are very encouraged and excited for the attention that the new Mayor is giving to restore and revitalize downtown Bellingham.