On July 30 USA Today published a list of the metro areas with the best employment growth between May 2014 and May 2019. The Bellingham metro area (Whatcom County) ranked 20th highest on the list, joining several other regional metro areas on the list.
Whatcom’s five-year growth rate is more than double the 7.3% national job growth. The article also noted that Whatcom’s population growth rate was 9.5% between 2013-2018, much higher than the 3.5% national growth rate over the same period.
The small metro areas on the list are finally seeing the percentage growth major metro areas like Seattle posted earlier in the decade, said Hart Hodges, director at Western Washington University’s Center for Economic Business Research.
“We’ve seen a bit of balancing out, so to speak, in the data in recent years,” Hodges said in an email to The Bellingham Herald.
With historically short summers, the swath of densely forested coastal territory stretching from British Columbia into northwestern Oregon has long been cloaked in a protective veil of moisture, making even medium-sized fires relatively rare. So-called “megafires” — enveloping hundreds of thousands of acres and even generating their own weather — have occurred only at century-plus intervals.
But global warming is changing the region’s seasons. A national climate assessment prepared by 13 federal agencies and released in 2018 said the Pacific Northwest had warmed nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900 and that trend would continue into the century, leading to warmer winters and less mountain snowpack.
Experts say these long-term changes create a special risk in Pacific Northwest forests, where past wet weather has created ample fuel for fires: Even a modest increase in contributing factors, like days without rain, could make them much more prone to burning.
Three kids died in the Olympic Pipeline explosion in Bellingham in 1999. Twenty years later, the band Death Cab for Cutie is paying tribute to them with a new song.
The song, titled “Kids in ‘99,” opens with the lyrics: “Thinking ‘bout those kids. Thinking ‘bout those kids back in ‘99. Gas leaking in the creek, a firecracker then a spark. In a moment they were gone... Gone... Gone... Gone...”
The June 10, 1999, disaster claimed the lives of Bellingham residents Wade King and Stephen Tsiorvas, both 10, and Liam Wood, 18.
Death Cab for Cutie formed in 1997 while lead-singer Ben Gibbard and the other band members were attending Western Washington University in Bellingham.
“The Olympic Pipeline explosion in 1999 was a tragedy that really affected me while we were living in Bellingham,” said Gibbard in a press release. “After all these years, I felt it was worthy of its own folk song.”
The song is first the band has shared from its upcoming “The Blue EP,” which debuts Sept. 6, 2019.
Stroll in the sun and soak in some art during August’s First Friday’s Art Walk. On the first Friday of every month, local galleries, wineries and bars welcome the art curious to enjoy free shows, usually during happy hour. Below are a few highlights.
Summer just got trippier at the Chase Gallery with its seasonal exhibition, “Summer Daydreams,” running through Sept. 25. The show features three regional artists who work in three different mediums with very distinct styles. Yet their works all share an evocative dream-like quality. Western Washington University associate art professor Seiko Purdue works primarily in fiber to create pieces exploring identity and environment.
Lurking below a heavily trafficked waterway, the discovery highlights how many mysteries still simmer under the sea.
“Sometimes when you’re looking at an area that’s relatively undiscovered, you don’t even know what you might find,” says Western Washington University’s Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, who studies submarine volcanoes. “There are great mysteries in the ocean waiting to be discovered.”
In addition to Vonesh, the co-principal investigators and senior partners include Andy Rost, Ph.D., at Sierra Nevada College, and Denielle Perry, Ph.D., at Northern Arizona University. Other senior personnel include Mathieu Brown at Prescott College; John McLaughlin, Ph.D., of Western Washington University; Tammi Laninga, Ph.D., at Western Washington University; Steve Storck, Ph.D., of the River Management Society; Amanda Rugenski, Ph.D., at the University of Georgia; and Joshua Viers, Ph.D., at University of California, Merced. These schools range from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities.
South Seattle has long been a center of industrial development. But those tech workers who may be looking south for their new bungalow soon? They are pouring into South Lake Union and Ballard, sections of Seattle that once housed lots of industry — industry displaced onto the Duwamish River Valley between 1990 and 2009. That was the conclusion of a 2015 report in the journal Sustainability by Western Washington University professors Troy Abel and Stacy Clauson and Michigan State University researcher Jonah White. The report looked at industrial development within Seattle, drawing on geographical analysis, pollution volume and toxic air emissions research, and Seattle’s land use policies and planning.
So what shifted for those Democrats in the past two weeks? Todd Donovan, a professor of political science at Western Washington University, said Trump’s continuing attacks against members of Congress of color likely played a role. On Saturday, Trump laid into Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, calling Cummings’ majority-Black district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and saying, “no human being would want to live there.”
On december 1st last year the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, a Chinese telecoms firm, as she prepared to change planes at Vancouver’s international airport.
Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a geologist at Western Washington University who studies the seismic signals produced by landslides and avalanches, told Motherboard in an email that the footage of the controlled avalanche didn't bother her as much as other sequences in the behind-the-scenes video.
“I have personal (not scientific) objection to the marketing of hazards," Caplan-Auerbach said. "For example, the video also shows someone filming a volcanic eruption and engaging with sharks (although it's not clear what type of shark)—those are both activities that I'd rather we not encourage."