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Winner of the Thornton Logo Contest Announced

Big congrats to Michael Bannerman, winner of our #ThorntonOverpass logo contest! He will wield a golden shovel at the groundbreaking this year.

Thank you to all of our participants who brought their creativity to this project, we appreciate your efforts.

For everyone who wants to follow updates on this project – make sure to follow the hashtag #ThorntonOverpass, where we will be sharing pictures, videos, news and updates as we move forward.

Eagleridge Students Explore the Math Behind the Thornton Overpass Project

Photo Credit: Jarrod Erb, Capital Projects Inspector

Eagleridge Students Explore the Math Behind the Thornton Overpass Project

Students at Eagleridge Elementary got to roll up their sleeves and, using new math skills, plan out a key piece of the Thornton Overpass project this week.

Capital Projects Manager Katy Radder and her team of City employees (see below) taught students how to utilize math to measure distances on a map drawn to scale. Then they were given yarn representing each of the different utilities (light, water, sewer, storm and communications) that need to be installed in the Thornton Overpass, which begins construction this year.

Students worked to fit the utilities into the space for the project while working within limitations. After all, water and sewer lines cannot be placed too close together.

Public Works staff also answered questions about Ferndale’s infrastructure and what it is like working for the city.

The City is always happy to encourage residents to explore all the fun projects available to you with a little bit of math, especially if it means recruiting future Public Works employees.

Eager Participants
One potential utility layout
Public Works staff (from left to right)
Jarrod Erb, Stephanie Hendrickson, Kyla Boswell, Katy Radder, Paul Knippel

City Council and Staff Meet to Set Goals and Improve Communication

Goals by the end of 2019

In lieu of their usual meeting, City Council, staff, and the Mayor met for a facilitated retreat to set goals and improve communication between each other and the public.

With big decisions approaching this year concerning the new Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion and selecting a downtown catalyst project, the participants worked with facilitator Laura Todd to improve coordination between staff and council. They concluded with goal setting for the rest of the year.

“At the end of 2019, when you look back on this year, what will you have done?” asked Todd. Council and staff agreed on the above list, including laying the groundwork for a new downtown, involving the public in the decision-making process and establishing a fair and equitable rate structure system.

Ferndale Arts Commission Receives Project Neighborly Grant for Downtown Murals

Aaron Brown, Vice-Chair of the WCF Board, poses with Ferndale Arts Commission Members Rebecca Xczar, Andrew Hansen and Colleen Harper

Alleyways throughout downtown Ferndale are about to receive some color courtesy of a grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation. Earlier this year, the Ferndale Arts Commission was awarded a “Project Neighborly” grant to install murals in several alleyways in downtown Ferndale.

Similar to the water tank beautification project last year, these murals will be designed by the Ferndale Arts Commission and installed by volunteers.

“Public art is essential to a vibrant downtown. They prevent graffiti and make our community a more attractive place to live, shop or dine,” said Councilmember Rebecca Xczar. “I’m grateful for the Whatcom Community Foundation’s support for this project and am ready to roll up my sleeves and make it happen.”

Members of the public who are interested in helping install the murals should follow the Ferndale Arts Commission facebook page for updates and volunteer opportunities.

First Meeting of Poverty Task Force Scheduled May 8th, 5pm

Earlier this year, the City Council formed the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force and they are scheduled to convene their first meeting on Weds. May 8th, at 5pm in the City Council chambers (5694 Second Avenue).

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The North Whatcom Poverty Task Force is a temporary advisory body tasked with conducting a needs assessment for the greater Ferndale community and presenting a set of recommendations to the Ferndale City Council that will address the impacts of income inequality, homelessness, food insecurity and rising housing prices.

The task force will be looking at issues across North Whatcom because the effects of poverty do not stop at the city limits and a holistic approach is needed to address these issues.

For questions or more information, please contact Communications Officer Riley Sweeney by clicking here or calling (360) 685-2353.

Drug Take Back Day April 27th at Ferndale Police Station

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Ferndale Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 17th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your pills for disposal to Ferndale Police Department at 2220 Main Street.  (Sites cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last fall Americans turned in nearly 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds—nearly 5,500 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 27 Take Back Day event, go to

Summary of April 15th, 2019 Council Meeting

Council Materials can be found here

City Council Agenda Follow-Up April 15, 2019  
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
PRIVATE DEVELOPMENTS UPDATE Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh presented updates on the following private projects: Everkept Short Plat – Located at 5924 Aspen Avenue. This is a .37-acre plot is being split into three lots. A lot line adjustment was required in order to increase the density enough to allow three units.Northwest Fence – Located at 5531 Hovander Road. Northwest Fence is moving from their current location on Pacific Highway to this 4.52-acre site. They will be putting two buildings on the site. Building A is 15,300 square feet and will be for offices and light manufacturing. Building B is 37,600 square feet and is for wholesale/retail and construction materials.Woodridge Long Plat – Located at 0 Heather Way, this plat is an eighteen-lot, 3.99 acres plat adjacent to Schell Creek. The homes built will be self-help homes through Whatcom-Skagit Housing for first time home owners.           INFO ONLY
PUBLIC HEARING: Downtown Catalyst Program Ordinance Beginning in the early 1980s, a succession of private or City-led groups have sought to address a decline in Ferndale’s downtown core. That decline has been attributed at various points to a change in shopping habits, increased traffic through Main Street, lack of parking, inappropriately sized buildings, lack of building maintenance, and more. Until the mid-2000s the majority of these efforts sought primarily to preserve or enhance existing buildings and businesses. Staff and Planning Commission have been working to establish a Downtown Catalyst Program wherein a small number of developments that meet criteria identified by the City would be eligible for a waiver of all City fees. Staff’s theory has been that such a project would have the ability, through its development, to positively influence properties and developments in the surrounding area, creating a more-vibrant Downtown that could be further improved without additional incentives. At the April 10 Planning & Land Use Committee meeting, several modifications to the original proposal were discussed. The draft being presented to Council at the April 15 meeting incorporates the direction provided at that meeting. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Olson and Watson opposed.               APPROVED
APPOINTMENTS: North Whatcom Poverty Task Force An ordinance adopting the formation of the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force was approved on February 19, 2019. The task force will conduct a needs assessment and present recommendations to Council regarding poverty in the Ferndale area. Mayor Council confirmation of the Mayor’s appointments to the task force is required. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.       APPROVED
ORDINANCE: Creating New Fund for Complete Streets Program Public Works Director Kevin Renz explained the need for the new fund for the $300,000 grant received from the Transportation Benefit District, through the Complete Streets Program. Councilmember G.  Hansen moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.       APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Council Extra Meeting Reimbursement Mayor Mutchler introduced a proposal to add extra-meeting reimbursement to City Council compensation. Rather than raising Council salaries, this proposal provides for a $65 reimbursement for Council-approved liaison and inter-governmental assignments that are in addition to regular Council and Committee meetings, with a maximum of four meetings per month. The reimbursement would become effective for seats 1,2,3 and 4 in 2020, and Seats 5,6 and 7 in 2022. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION FAILED 2 – 5, Councilmembers Taylor and Kennedy in favor.         FAILED
DISCUSSION: Mayor Salary In 1999, the City converted to a Council-Mayor form of government. Councilmember Xczar presented the history of the Mayor’s salary since that time. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to adjust the Mayor’s salary to $2,500 per month, beginning in 2020. Councilmember Kennedy moved to amend the motion to adjust the Mayor’s salary to $2,500 per month, beginning May 1, 2019. MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF A SECOND. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to amend the motion to direct staff to bring an ordinance to the next meeting setting the Mayor’s salary at $2,500 per month, beginning January 1, 2020.  MOTION CARRIED 4-3, Councilmembers Olson, Watson, and G. Hansen opposed.         APPROVED
RECOGNITION:  Councilmember Fred Kennedy Mayor Mutchler presented Councilmember Kennedy with a plaque and a City centennial coin, and thanked him for his dedicated service as a Councilmember.   INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 9:19 p.m.  

May 6 Council Meeting Cancellation Notice

The regularly scheduled May 6 City Council meeting has been cancelled. Instead, a Council Retreat will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Ferndale Police Station. This is a public meeting as defined by the Open Public Meetings Act.

Council Committee meetings on May 1, 2019 have also been cancelled.