Fighting for Orcas and Chinook

This month’s feature brings up questions regarding Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to help chinook salmon and orca whales in the Pacific Northwest.

Island with Bustle

San Juan County: San Juan Island Samantha Bryner moved to San Juan Island 44 years ago, and has worked in real estate for more than 30 of those. On her first ferry ride into Friday Harbor she remembers being taken aback by the island’s beauty. “Enchanted. I…

Big Island, Small World

San Juan County: Orcas Island Orcas Island, known as the “Gem of the San Juans,” is the largest of the archipelago. It boasts the highest mountains on the islands, most of which are in Moran State Park; waterfalls, and numerous hamlets, with Eastsound the first stop for many tourists. You can choose to live close to a town or far off the beaten path. Homes facing west get the…

“Slo-Pez” Neighbors Revel in the Rural

San Juan County: Lopez Island When visitors come to Lopez Island, they feel like they’re part of the neighborhood. Known as the “Friendly Isle,” inhabitants wave to everyone they pass. Rumors claim the kind gesture isn’t actually about being friendly — it’s from Prohibition times when islanders discreetly warned one another that federal inspectors were on…

Watching the Neighborhood Grow

Skagit County: Eaglemont When Denise Hewitt and her husband moved to Eaglemont about 20 years ago there were hardly any other homes. Now, it’s become an established neighborhood. “It’s a great community,” she said. “It started out being mostly retired people and then as the years went by, lots of families [came].” There’s plenty to do in Eaglemont to keep a family occupied. The Eaglemont Golf Course…

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

Skagit County: Skyline Courtney Blackston and her family moved into the Skyline neighborhood a year and a half ago, and are happy to call it home. The…

A Seafarer’s Dream

Skagit County: Shelter Bay Danny Hagen grew up in the Shelter Bay house that he now lives in with a family of his own — his wife, Nicole, and their two little ones, Kaysen and Duncan. The Hagens moved into the neighborhood in 2014 because they were about to start a family, and could afford a four-bedroom house in Shelter Bay for the price of a two-bedroom apartment elsewhere. Having grown up there, Hagen…

From Summer Vacation to All-Year Family Fun

Skagit County: North Big Lake North Big Lake was once a summer vacation destination for Margie Holdt and her family, but now it’s home. When Holdt and her late husband began thinking of retirement about 20 years ago, they opted for an upgrade, rather than a downsize. “We had three adult sons and we decided that we wanted something large enough that they could come and spend time here with their families. too,” Holdt said….

Coal Mines of Bellingham

Bellingham’s neighborhoods have their own character, but some share a feature you can’t even see: a wide network of underground coal mine tunnels. Hundreds of miles of abandoned coal passageways honeycomb Bellingham’s depths, none bigger than the massive Bellingham Coal Mine beneath the Birchwood and Columbia neighborhoods. The mine, which operated from 1918–1955, was the last to…

A Place to Grow Together

Whatcom County: Columbia The weather is a comfortable middle area, between shedding the last of winter and the opening notes of spring. Residents of the Columbia neighborhood are coming out of hibernation. People are outside jogging, walking their dogs and cycling. Lori Pobuta is pouring a cup of coffee and serving up donuts, observing the quiet commotion from her window. Long before Pobuta built her house in the Columbia neighborhood, she knew little of Bellingham…

Neighborhood Police

In November, a string of home break-ins put Bellingham residents on edge. The burglaries followed a pattern: multiple suspects breaking into homes, particularly on sunny days when residents were out. One neighborhood after another got…