News & Information


Industry tour and study illustrated far-reaching economic effects of farming and supporting industries During this past year, the local farming community felt they were under attack due to new local and state government policies and overregulation. Why were these decisions made? Because policy makers did not truly understand the economic contributions of local farming, that […]


 WWU  Center for Economic and Business Research commissioned by the WBA as part of the StepUp Campaign in collaboration with Whatcom Family Farmers and other industry experts.  CLICK HERE: Agribusiness Analysis Study Final 2017 If you are interested in supporting Whatcom Business Alliance Step Up for Business Advocacy, Education and Research efforts, click here.

Whatcom County is a farming community — but for how long?

  Whatcom County is a farming community. Six out of 10 red raspberries grown in the United States comes from Whatcom County; this area is the nation’s largest producer of raspberries. Whatcom County is also No. 1 in the country at milk per cow, and in overall dairy production, Whatcom is the top county in […]

JOIN THE COMMITTEE: Education Initiative Putting Whatcom County students on the pathway to success.

  The Whatcom Business Alliance has been steadily developing exciting content for our Youth Engagement Initiative Kickoff event at BTC in the coming months.  Interest from our community has grown as we continue to share the Initiative’s concept of teaching high school students to job readiness skills and introducing them to local business opportunities. Alcoa’s […]

Speak now, or forever hold your peace

by Tony Larson  I’ve always been of the school that you should speak now, or forever hold your peace. I think speaking up for your beliefs is a positive thing, providing you do it respectfully. I’ve instilled that in my children, and I admire it when I see it in others, regardless of whether or […]

Continuing to Step Up: Business Advocacy, Research and Education

By Business Pulse Magazine & WBA Staff In September 2016 the Board of Directors of the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) launched its “Step Up for Business” campaign, a commitment to one of the WBA’s core missions – advocacy on behalf of Whatcom County business in public policy issues. The ongoing campaign provides local companies of […]

Do local policies constrain local housing? Developers, realtors say yes

Article and photos by Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy Bellingham ranks among the least affordable cities in the nation, comparing housing costs to local incomes. Are local governments’ policies contributing to that? The median home in Bellingham costs 7.3 times more than the median income here. Nationally, a typical home costs 3.4 times the annual household income […]

Step Up for Education Youth Engagement Initiative

  The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) launched the Step Up Campaign for Business Advocacy, Research and Education in September 2016. The vision of the campaign is to engage with the community through research, education and advocacy to support business success because business success drives community prosperity.  The WBA is now building the Youth Engagement Initiative […]

We are…the Whatcom Business Alliance

The Whatcom Business Alliance brings together many different industries and supports businesses that are good community members. Step Up with the WBA and stand together for the future of Whatcom County. We work here, we play here, and we live here. This is our home – we are Whatcom County, we are the Whatcom Business […]

WBA Response to Stand.Earth letter

Dear WBA Members and Supporters, It has come to our attention that an organization called Stand.Earth has targeted nearly the entire Whatcom Business Alliance membership with a campaign letter intended to intimidate and bully.  It comes as a result of our successful efforts to educate, inform and engage on a number of important local policy […]

Whatcom County Tax Assessor Keith Willnauer lays out the impact of the “Assault on our Tax Base”

Whatcom County Tax Assessor Keith Willnauer presented to the WBA membership on Tuesday, May 16th the impact of the “Assault to our Tax Base”. The full video presentation is here below along with a link to his slide presentation. This is alarming information about how property taxes will be impacted in the coming year following […]

Whatcom County Grassroots Organizations Teaming Up For a “Wake Up Whatcom County” Rally in Bellingham on May 16th

Bellingham, Washington – May 11, 2017 – UPDATE: SEE PHOTOS FROM THE RALLY! The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) Cherry Point Coalition, Common Threads NW, Whatcom Family Farmers, the Associated General Contractors of Washington and other grassroots organizations concerned for Whatcom County’s economic future will be holding a rally in support of family wage jobs, economic opportunity […]

Myth #2 – We can ban export of fossil fuels without harming current industries and jobs at Cherry Point

This week’s Myth: We can ban export of fossil fuels without harming current industries and jobs at Cherry Point This week’s Reality Check: The attempt to pick and choose which parts of a company’s operations are allowed – even though those activities are legal under the current carefully regulated environment – hurts the value of […]

Hirst Case Resources

The best thing you can do is contact your lawmakers in the House and Senate and encourage them to fix Hirst now! You can use AWB’s letter writing tool or customize your own letter at: Fix Hirst is a website created by a broad group of folks who are concerned about the impact of the Hirst […]

Myth #1-The time when we’ll no longer need fossil fuels is coming fast

This week’s Myth: The time when we’ll no longer need fossil fuels is coming fast so we should re-train workers at the Cherry Point refineries for the jobs of the future. This week’s Reality Check! There is no doubt that the global use of renewable energy sources is growing and will continue to grow in […]

Update on Hirst from Sen. Doug Ericksen

Hirst Fix in the legislature – Save Household Wells! A Senate fix to the state’s household-well crisis failed to receive a vote in a House committee as a key deadline passed, but the issue remains alive as long as this year’s legislature remains in session.

Navigating water and property rights in the state of Washington

“Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Washington State can feel like this sometimes. Though it seems abundant, water isn’t necessarily always available for use ― even for those who own the property under which […]

Recent Decisions Severely Impact Property Owners

By: Jim McKinney, Executive Director, Common Threads Northwest The WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL moratoriums on Cherry Point industrial growth and drilling previously exempt home-use wells have a dramatic impact on our economy and tax base.  They cost businesses and individual property owners hundreds of millions of dollars.  Because of the Council decisions, our quality of life […]

Step Up Update

Take Action to Support Cherry Point The saga continues! The Cherry Point Amendment to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan is being introduced to the full Council on Tuesday, March 21st with the anticipated vote scheduled for Tuesday, April 4th. The language moving forward continues to concern the Cherry Point businesses: the Council plans to fund […]

What Cherry Point taxes mean to Local Schools

A significant portion of income for Whatcom County public school districts comes from: Maintenance and operations (M&O) levies, which help fund the ongoing costs of running the school, and Bonds, which typically are used to fund larger school renovations, new construction, and other capital projects. In the Ferndale School District, for example, which has successfully […]

Local Elections Matter

First turnover of County Council under new system holds profound implications with 4 seats open By Business Pulse Staff One of the most important elements of any democracy is how representatives are elected. It is no less important here in Whatcom County. In 2015 County voters approved significant changes to how the Whatcom County Council […]

We can balance economic prosperity and environmental stewardship

By Tony Larson, President Whatcom Business Alliance Most reasonable people understand there are trade-offs on most important decisions. Few decisions provide all benefit with no costs. Decisions that impact our community are typically no different. Particularly when the goal is to balance our economic prosperity and environmental stewardship. Many believe it is one or the […]

Whatcom County Council has a choice: Is Cherry Point open for business, or not?

Whatcom County Council has a choice: Is Cherry Point open for business, or not? John Huntley, president of Mills Electric in Bellingham, found himself recently in a place he never thought he’d be – in a room full of people on a snowy night, standing in front of the Whatcom County Planning Commissioners, and talking […]

Local businesses stepping up together to make a difference

The  Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) recently launched its Step Up for Business Advocacy Campaign – or “Step Up,” as it has become known. “Step Up is the answer to numerous requests and long Board [of Directors] conversations about how to substantively improve the business climate in Whatcom County,” WBA President Tony Larson said. The Step […]