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.