Mayor Hansen speaks about the 2021 Budget, COVID-19 and giving thanks.
Mayor Hansen speaks about the 2021 Budget, COVID-19 and giving thanks.
The City mourns the loss of former City Councilmember and SCOPE Officer Paul Ingram, who passed away in October. He was a passionate advocate for the people, electric vehicles and doing what was right rather than what was popular. Our hearts go out to his family, who is in our thoughts and prayers.
More details on the life and achievements of former Councilmember Paul Ingram can be found in his obituary published by My Ferndale News.
The City of Ferndale, in collaboration with Whatcom County, other local cities and the Port of Bellingham has secured over $230,000 for 29 businesses in Ferndale. These resources are part of the Whatcom REstart grants, where local jurisidictions pooled their federal funds from the CARES act passed in the initial outbreak of COVID-19.
Grant applications were received from every city and town in Whatcom County, and an intentional effort was made to ensure that the recipients were also representative of the county by geography and industry.
Approximately $440,000 was allocated to businesses in unincorporated Whatcom County. A full list of the recipients and the amounts awarded will be made available on the Whatcom ReStart webpage.
“We are a resilient community. When we get knocked down, we don’t complain, we get back up and try again,” said Ferndale Mayor Greg Hansen. “With these resources, I believe our businesses can come back after this crisis better and stronger than before.”
The grants are only eligible to cover specific expenses. The list of eligible expenses is limited by conditions under which CARES Act funds are distributed. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to: rent, ordinary loan payments, employee wages and benefits, typical operating costs and COVID-19-related public health measures.
“We’ve only been able to fund about 40%of the applicants, and that’s frustrating, because we see so many businesses and their employees impacted by this crisis,” said Gina Stark, Economic Development Project Manager at the Regional Economic Partnership. “We hope that those of you who we were not able to assist at this time will continue to adapt and to make things work.”
In addition to these business and economic response efforts, CARES Act funding has also been dedicated to support the public emergency response, food and housing security, childcare services, and services and facilities to those living unsheltered.
Today, Governor Jay Inslee lifted most restrictions on residential and commercial construction, allowing low risk construction projects to resume with additional safety precautions.
Mayor Greg Hansen is grateful that the Governor has listened to our repeated requests to restart construction in a safe and responsible way and this is a good start. For full details of the safety requirements, please see the guidelines available here. For questions about individual projects, please see Community Development Director Haylie Miller at HaylieMiller@cityofferndale.org or 360-685-2367.
First, let me thank you and the thousands of other residents for all you’ve done to keep us safe and healthy this last month. Whether you are a grocery store clerk working at Haggens or Grocery Outlet, a Ferndale school teacher trying to keep your students engaged through a computer or just sheltering at home with your family, you are doing your part to protect our community. Thank you.
I wanted to take a few moments to talk to everyone in the City about what our future looks like. I’ve been in almost daily contact with the Governor’s office fighting to get Ferndale back to business in a safe and responsible way. I want to see our projects restarted and our businesses open but we have to do it right. The last thing anyone wants is for Ferndale to be ground zero for the next outbreak. A second wave would cause an even more brutal round of shut downs and we cannot afford that in either lives or dollars. That’s why I am so relieved to see most Ferndale residents doing what they can to stay home and stay healthy.
In another couple of weeks, we will see the restrictions from the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order begin to be lifted but it will not be like flipping a switch. We will still need to maintain social distancing for much of our day-to-day operations and we cannot allow large gatherings. Last week, the Old Settlers Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the City jointly agreed to suspend their large public events this summer in an effort to prevent another outbreak. Believe me, I was looking forward to Old Settlers Weekend, especially since this year would have been their 125 anniversary. Make no mistake, we will still celebrate our history – we will just have to do it without a big parade or festival in the park.
Even more troubling, this week we received news that the Intalco facility was closing. The smelter is part of the lifeblood of our community, and they have been putting food on the tables of Ferndale families for almost three generations. This closure will be a critical blow to our local economy in the midst of a difficult time. But we are Ferndale, we look after each other especially when things look the most grim. I know that I will do everything in my power to breathe life back into this facility and fight like hell for all of our Ferndale families that find themselves out of work.
These are difficult and troubling times but we are a resilient community. We’ve survived floods, economic disasters, tragedies and more. We will survive this – together.
Mayor Greg Hansen Statement on Intalco Facility Closure:
“This news is simply heartbreaking. The smelter is part of the lifeblood of our community, and they have been putting food on the tables of Ferndale families for almost three generations. This closure will be a critical blow to our local economy in the midst of a difficult time.
We are Ferndale, we look after each other especially when things look the most grim.
I know that I will do everything in my power to breathe life back into this facility and fight like hell for all of our Ferndale families that find themselves out of work.”
Mayor Greg Hansen shares some of the City’s actions to protect our community from COVID-19 and offers three ways you can help. For more information and resources available during this difficult time check out cityofferndale.org/covid19 or the Whatcom County page at whatcomcovid.com.
Spanish language version available below with Councilmember Herb Porter.
My name is Greg Hansen, and I’m the Mayor of Ferndale. Today, I am going to share with you some of the things we are working on as a City to keep all of us safe during this pandemic and what you can do to help.
Like many other communities around the world, we have closed public spaces to help slow the spread of this disease. This includes closing City Hall, the Police Station, our municipal court and our playgrounds. For the safety of our staff and others, we’ve empowered city employees to work remotely whenever possible. Despite the crisis, the work of the City continues and we are reachable by phone, email or through our website.
As you know, the state and county have enacted measures to close schools, bars, restaurants, libraries and other public places, and yesterday, the Governor issued an order to shelter in place.We know this is hard but these necessary steps that could save literally thousands of lives.
For those of you worried about your utility bills, rest assured, we are not doing shutoffs or charging late fees for the Feb. 28th bill. The next utility bill does not go out until April 30th and we are working to see what solutions are available then. We understand that people are struggling, and this is what we are able to do right now to help.
For families and businesses needing economic support, there is an ever-growing list of resources available. We have linked it in the description of this video.
For those of you worried about your building permit deadlines, please contact our community development staff who are ready to provide you the flexibility needed during this time.
The City is working closely with our neighboring communities. The County has established a Unified Command at the County Emergency Operations Center so that all first responders, medical professionals and public information officers in our area can work together seamlessly. We are proud to be part of this dedicated team working around the clock to protect our community.
Ferndale has always met challenges head on. When there’s a big crisis, we always rise to meet it because that is what we do. We are Ferndale, and we look out for each other. That’s why we need your help. Here are the three things we need everyone in Ferndale to do.
First, stop the spread. That means staying home if you are sick, avoiding gathering in groups, limit trips to the grocery store and wash your hands with hot water and soap. This will help stop the spread of the disease.
But we also need to stop the spreading of misinformation. In a crisis, bad information can make a challenging situation even worse. Please be prudent about what you share. Whatcom County has established a single website for all COVID related information, it is whatcomcovid.com. For Ferndale-specific details, please go to www.cityofferndale.org/covid19.
Second, support your Ferndale businesses. Whenever possible, shop Ferndale. We’ve assembled a list of restaurants providing takeout in our city at www.cityofferndale.org/takeout. Pick up some food and tip well, it really does help. A number of other local businesses are modifying their operation to facilitate convenient pick up and deserve our support.
Finally, look after each other. Call your elderly relatives, keep active as best you can and make sure that your neighbors have the help they need. I know that when we work together and take care of each other, we are stronger than any virus.
As always, we are here to help. If you have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to call or email. Thank you.
Mayor Greg Hansen issued a proclamation effective immediately declaring a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. This proclamation allows the City of Ferndale to modify policies and procedures so that the City can move quickly and efficiently to address the issues arising from this virus outbreak.
“We have been operating under a state of emergency at various levels for over two weeks. Issuing this proclamation now is really an administrative step to allow the City to be more responsive and effective at meeting this crisis,” said Hansen. “This declaration will allow the City to expedite the purchase of needed supplies, change rules related to the use of sick leave, utilize online options for public meetings, change hours of operation at City Hall, or institute flexible work schedules for employees who need it.”
This action matches the recent declarations of emergency at the County, State and Federal level. “Our priority is to maintain the City operations and services throughout this situation. Ferndale is a fierce community and we will meet this head on,” said Hansen.
“While declaring a state of emergency is alarming to many, we are in unprecedented times,” said Hansen. “This is not just a public health crisis but a community-wide challenge. These will be difficult times for everybody in Ferndale, but I am especially concerned for our small businesses who are taking-on a particularly significant burden as they help our community combat this health emergency.”
To read the full proclamation, click here.
The Mayor urges the public to take the following steps to help support each other during this outbreak.
Over 160 residents joined us for our Citywide Community Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19th to get an inside scoop on what is happening in Ferndale in 2020 and to meet their newly elected officials. You can find the video of the program below and pictures of the event on the City’s facebook page.
As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of Michael Knapp, former police chief of the City of Ferndale who was fatally injured in the line of duty while serving the City of Lynden, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the City of Ferndale and the laws of the United States of America, that until the date of his internment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at city hall and all public buildings and grounds.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of November, in the year two thousand nineteen.
Mayor Jon Mutchler, City of Ferndale
UPDATE: Prior to issuing this proclamation, the City sought, and received, authorization from the Governor for this action. It was granted on the condition the mayor make a proclamation.