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Three Port Executive Finalists Withdraw

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The three finalists for the position of Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham have all withdrawn their names from consideration. Of the original five finalists, two withdrew their names earlier in the summer. The Port is now starting over in their search for an executive.

As of this afternoon, I have left phone messages with Port officials and candidates and can only wait for a possible phone call back. The Port has posted information confirming this development. Nothing on the Herald website.

The executive position has now been vacant for over a year. Ironically, the Port released their latest version of the waterfront master plan just yesterday - with no leader to steer the process.

More information when we learn more.

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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

Tip Johnson

Jul 18, 2010

Yes, very interesting that the mass exodus from the application process for the Port’s Executive Director occurred as their so-called master plan was released.

The master plan shows no effort or ability to adapt to changed economic circumstances.  It remains based upon a now-obsolete market demand study that predicted high-end condominiums in a mixed-use retail/commercial environment could support the clean-up and redevelopment.

But condominiums are unsold aplenty in Bellingham today.  The housing stock being taken over by banks could take years to get back into the market.  This surplus could easily make the development anticipated by the master plan infeasible for the foreseeable future.  WHo wants to lead a loser?

Then, have you noticed any vacant shops downtown or in outlying commercial developments?  Do you remember what one Bellis Fair did to the downtown core?  The master plan anticipates Ballingham’s waterfront will be able to absorb six Bellis Fairs worth off foo-foo boutiques and shops.  That’s crazy!

It could be that advertisment for a Port Director job attracted people interested in running port facilities.  Well, could it be that decommissioning the Whatcom Waterway, planning to squander Whatcom County’s largest water treatment facility, rendering the industrial water supply useless, and wanting to forever blockade Bellingham Bay’s highest utility industrial land with condos, is it possible that seemed like an unlikely recipe for success? 

How many of the 100+ applicants were rejected because they couldn’t drink the Port’s delusional Kool-Aid?  How many port-minded applicants were rejected because they
could see that in our new economy, with surplus water supply, treatment capacity and industrial land, it might make more sense to recruit business, and foster trade and commerce as ports were intended?  How many withdrew because they could did not intend to apply to run a publicly subsidized real estate management enterprise with a fatally flawed plan that threatens to irrevocably damage the community?

More than a bad recipe for success, the plan has become a signal recipe for disaster: A Billion Dollar Boondoggle, blockading the port, privatizing the waterfront, forever foreclosing on family wage jobs, wrecking the central business district and other commercial investments, and driving a housing surplus that could render most area contractors idle for decades.

Sadly, every indication is that the Port may be incapable of choosing a director that can help the Port really help Whatcom County.

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