Gene Knutson to Retire from Bellingham Council

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• Topics: Bellingham, Elections,

After 28 years on the Bellingham City Council​, Gene Knutson is retiring. First elected in 1993, he has represented the 2nd Ward, the north east portion of Bellingham, for seven terms. Although he was consistently elected by the 2nd Ward, Gene always believed that he represented all of Bellingham and often met with residents from other parts of the city. He has served as council president six times, including last year.

He recently retired from his 45-year career at Bellingham Cold Storage.

My experience with Gene over the decades is unique of all council members I have ever known. He invariably replied to emails and was willing to answer any questions. We typically met for a coffee two or three times a year, and although we often disagreed on how the city should handle a particular issue, he was always open to discussion. Gene is more conservative than I am, but like the respected conservative Arne Hanna, Gene was always courteous and listened carefully. That said, Gene did lose his temper several times over the decades in council meetings, but he always regretted it and, most importantly, always publicly apologized.

Looking forward, I would like to invite anyone planning to run for Gene’s 2nd Ward seat to let any of us at NWCitizen know.

Jan 13 Correction: Gene has not yet retired from the Cold Storage as planned, but is staying on to help during the pandemic until the end of this year.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Jon Humphrey

Jan 15, 2021

Yes, Gene is a straight shooter and I would describe him as a moderate. This is way better than Dan Hammill who never seems to respond to anything, and Michael Lilliquist who changes his opinion on everything all of the time. I will miss Gene.

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Geoff Middaugh

Jan 16, 2021

Thank you, Gene, for your service.    Always responsive, always respectfully and always straight forward positions.   We need people like you now more than ever.  Good job for Bellingham.  

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Elizabeth Kilanowski

Jan 26, 2021

Gene was a member of the Port of Bellingham’s Marina Advisory Committee while I was on it. He was always calm, thoughtful, and respectful. That is more than I can say for some of the others at that time. I really appreciated that he supported the Live Aboard community, of which I was a part. Gene was one of only a couple of Councilmembers who voted against selling the Fire Belle, which might at least have helped a little in the devastating fire of March 31, 2012 that took two lives. Thank you, Gene.

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D. Crook

Jan 27, 2021

I’d have loved arguing against your conservative views more if it weren’t for that temper.  But respect for respect—and care for care—you held yourself accountible, and engaged with opposing viewpoints.  Peace and good health Gene.

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Bob Burr

Feb 21, 2021

I an so happy for Gene and more so for his great wife. Twenty-eight years is a long time to have to deal with people on all sides of issues. While I am to the left of Gene on many issues, he has always made time for me to discuss issues of import. He is typically mild-mannered. easy to talk with, and respectful of peoples views. He is a “good guy” who I consider as a friend. His explosion against those who used foul language in decrying the overly militarized bust up of the camp on City Hall/Library grounds perhaps shows that it was time to leave. I know he seriously considered it last election cycle, but he is devoted to public service and did get in one more term as Council Chair. Thank you Gene and I hope yoou enjoy retirement as much as I have.

 

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