Downtown Bellingham PArtnership

Who We Are

 
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We beliEve in our community, we love our city

The Downtown Bellingham Partnership is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the vibrancy and growth of our downtown.  Everything we do is rooted in the idea that our community — Downtown Bellingham — is a place unlike anywhere else.  We work to enhance, promote, and advocate for a vibrant city center through development, promotion, support, and celebration.

 
 

Our MISSION:

We champion the health and vitality of downtown Bellingham through the promotion of commerce, culture, and celebration. 

Our VISION:

Bursting with creative vitality and authentic charm, Downtown Bellingham is a thriving, healthy community where people from all walks of life can experience a wealth of opportunities to work, shop, learn, and play.

 

Our 2018 Annual Report is now available.

From expanded events to new hires, see the impact we’ve made over the past year.


 
Downtown Bellingham is a city of unique, energetic, compassionate (and renewed) excitement. Our community’s vibrancy sets us apart.
— Alice Clark, Executive Director
 
Our Downtown is just that, ours! It truly showcases the whole town of Bellingham and the unique energy that makes it a truly special place.
— Casey Diggs, Board President
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Our Team

 

Some of our community's greatest advocates call the Downtown Bellingham Partnership home.  Get to know both the people behind the organization and why they make our team as vibrant as our city.

 
Alice Clark   Executive Director    alice@downtownbellingham.com    Downtown is truly the heart of the city to Alice. She is thrilled to support and be a part of and its emerging revitalization. Excited by the opportunities that city renewal presents, she is committed to ensuring the growth taking place now reflects the values of the community. She believes co-creating a city is not only possible — it's necessary.  Born and raised in St. Louis, Alice moved to Bellingham in 1980. She witnessed a variety of changes in the city, from the building of the Bellis Fair Mall to the closing of the G-P paper mill. Using her degree in Graphic Design from Western Washington University, she helped found the Pickford Film Center. Alice later lead the organization through a $3.25 million campaign and opening of the new PFC on Bay Street in 2012.  Attributed to years of working at the Pickford, as well as her service on a variety of community boards, Alice is familiar with the people, places, potential and concerns of Downtown Bellingham. Since joining DBP's board in 2016, Alice has been busy focusing on the community's desire for an increased focus on economic development and addressing the challenges that impact downtown's health and vitality.

Alice Clark
Executive Director
alice@downtownbellingham.com

Downtown is truly the heart of the city to Alice. She is thrilled to support and be a part of and its emerging revitalization. Excited by the opportunities that city renewal presents, she is committed to ensuring the growth taking place now reflects the values of the community. She believes co-creating a city is not only possible — it's necessary.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Alice moved to Bellingham in 1980. She witnessed a variety of changes in the city, from the building of the Bellis Fair Mall to the closing of the G-P paper mill. Using her degree in Graphic Design from Western Washington University, she helped found the Pickford Film Center. Alice later lead the organization through a $3.25 million campaign and opening of the new PFC on Bay Street in 2012.

Attributed to years of working at the Pickford, as well as her service on a variety of community boards, Alice is familiar with the people, places, potential and concerns of Downtown Bellingham. Since joining DBP's board in 2016, Alice has been busy focusing on the community's desire for an increased focus on economic development and addressing the challenges that impact downtown's health and vitality.

Lindsey Payne Johnstone   Events Director    lindsey@downtownbellingham.com    The year 2008 was big for Lindsey and Downtown Bellingham's story. Not only did she graduate from Western Washington University, having spent her last quarter as an intern for the Partnership, she also started as our Events Director and a bartender at Bayou on Bay.   Lindsey's love for the downtown community and its unique identity fuels her passion for our events, as she believes they help to maintain Bellingham's culture. When asked what her favorite part of her job is, Lindsey responded "engaging our community by throwing huge parties!" When not working, you can find Lindsey spending time with her family and friends celebrating music, wine, and popcorn.

Lindsey Payne Johnstone
Events Director
lindsey@downtownbellingham.com

The year 2008 was big for Lindsey and Downtown Bellingham's story. Not only did she graduate from Western Washington University, having spent her last quarter as an intern for the Partnership, she also started as our Events Director and a bartender at Bayou on Bay.

Lindsey's love for the downtown community and its unique identity fuels her passion for our events, as she believes they help to maintain Bellingham's culture. When asked what her favorite part of her job is, Lindsey responded "engaging our community by throwing huge parties!" When not working, you can find Lindsey spending time with her family and friends celebrating music, wine, and popcorn.

Mason Luvera   Communications Director    mason@downtownbellingham.com    Mason's philosophy is simple; look from the ground-up, the inside-out and outside-in. That's why he manages all communications and branding for the Partnership, and serves as a key liaison between the City of Bellingham, Tourism, local businesses and organizations. IE: he thinks Bellingham is awesome and that more people need to think that too. He also built this website, so if you see an error, let him know!  Professionally, Mason has worked for communications-centered agencies on both the east and west coasts, and served as a communications director in higher education. Beyond downtown, Mason sits on the Bellingham International Airport advisory board and is the communications co-chair for the Western Washington University Alumni Board of Directors.  Mason calls Bellingham home, but when he's not in the Northwest, you might find him exploring a rustbelt city, searching for a great article or cooking with friends in his adopted home-city of Philadelphia.

Mason Luvera
Communications Director
mason@downtownbellingham.com

Mason's philosophy is simple; look from the ground-up, the inside-out and outside-in. That's why he manages all communications and branding for the Partnership, and serves as a key liaison between the City of Bellingham, Tourism, local businesses and organizations. IE: he thinks Bellingham is awesome and that more people need to think that too. He also built this website, so if you see an error, let him know!

Professionally, Mason has worked for communications-centered agencies on both the east and west coasts, and served as a communications director in higher education. Beyond downtown, Mason sits on the Bellingham International Airport advisory board and is the communications co-chair for the Western Washington University Alumni Board of Directors.

Mason calls Bellingham home, but when he's not in the Northwest, you might find him exploring a rustbelt city, searching for a great article or cooking with friends in his adopted home-city of Philadelphia.

Marissa McGrath   Assistant Director    marissa@downtownbellingham.com    Marissa McGrath moved to Bellingham from the strip-mall-abundant Midwest in 2006. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and stuck with local non-profit work for a few years before moving to Vancouver, BC where she worked in development at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She got to see one of the princes there one time (but not one of the young ones and not Prince, The Artist, or anything) and another time she embarrassed herself in front of Joshua Jackson.  When not hobnobbing with the elite and the handsome, she gained a great deal of knowledge about fundraising and community relations. Soon though, she ached for her new-found home and returned to Bellingham to start a small historical walking tour company, The Good Time Girls, and eventually opened a small shop known as The Bureau.  As our Assistant Director, Marissa provides Alice support for the exciting programs, fundraising and events that the Downtown Bellingham Partnership brings to her favorite place in the world. It’s the least she can do.

Marissa McGrath
Assistant Director
marissa@downtownbellingham.com

Marissa McGrath moved to Bellingham from the strip-mall-abundant Midwest in 2006. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and stuck with local non-profit work for a few years before moving to Vancouver, BC where she worked in development at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She got to see one of the princes there one time (but not one of the young ones and not Prince, The Artist, or anything) and another time she embarrassed herself in front of Joshua Jackson.

When not hobnobbing with the elite and the handsome, she gained a great deal of knowledge about fundraising and community relations. Soon though, she ached for her new-found home and returned to Bellingham to start a small historical walking tour company, The Good Time Girls, and eventually opened a small shop known as The Bureau.

As our Assistant Director, Marissa provides Alice support for the exciting programs, fundraising and events that the Downtown Bellingham Partnership brings to her favorite place in the world. It’s the least she can do.

Melissa Sorinsin   Office Manager    melissa@downtownbellingham.com    Melissa is new to the Partnership, and is so busy we haven’t been able to shoot her staff photo! But she’s awesome, and is responsible for keeping our office running smoothly. We’re all obsessed with her.

Melissa Sorinsin
Office Manager
melissa@downtownbellingham.com

Melissa is new to the Partnership, and is so busy we haven’t been able to shoot her staff photo! But she’s awesome, and is responsible for keeping our office running smoothly. We’re all obsessed with her.

Calista Klein   Events & Promotions Coordinator    calista@downtownbellingham.com    Calista is new to the Partnership, and is so busy we haven’t been able to shoot her staff photo! But she’s awesome, and is responsible for assisting in event coordination, marketing and communications.

Calista Klein
Events & Promotions Coordinator
calista@downtownbellingham.com

Calista is new to the Partnership, and is so busy we haven’t been able to shoot her staff photo! But she’s awesome, and is responsible for assisting in event coordination, marketing and communications.

Dan Gifford   Landscaping Lead    landscaping@downtownbellingham.com    Dan is a man of few words, but he’s a hardworking part of Downtown. On any given day you’re likely to find him somewhere in the district making sure our streetscape looks bright, things are running smoothly and our potted plants are happy.

Dan Gifford
Landscaping Lead
landscaping@downtownbellingham.com

Dan is a man of few words, but he’s a hardworking part of Downtown. On any given day you’re likely to find him somewhere in the district making sure our streetscape looks bright, things are running smoothly and our potted plants are happy.

Jennifer Walters   Retail Advocate    jennifer@downtownbellingham.com    Jennifer is a PNW native, born in Seattle with Bellingham roots dating back to the 1930’s.  She left Bellingham in 93’ to seek new adventures & experiences in some of the most beautiful places west of the Mississippi. A few places she called home over the years…. Jackson Hole, Santa Fe, Bend, Boise, Palm Springs & Austin. She came full circle and moved back to Bellingham in the fall of 2017.  Originally, Jennifer returned to Bellingham with plans to open a botanical boutique in Downtown. But once she discovered the ‘Retail Advocate’ position open at the time, that was it - she knew THAT is what she was meant to do. Jennifer is passionate about economic development for downtown Bellingham while preserving its uniqueness, history and authenticity.  Jennifer’s professional background is jam-packed with all aspects of the retail and wholesale world; décor and design, floral and events, and even private aviation. Fabulous side note: she worked with Harrison Ford, just to name drop one of the many celebrities from her life. She says he was very “SWOON worthy.”  Across all, Jennifer believes in embracing change, constant learning and growth, both as individuals, partnerships, and community.

Jennifer Walters
Retail Advocate
jennifer@downtownbellingham.com

Jennifer is a PNW native, born in Seattle with Bellingham roots dating back to the 1930’s.

She left Bellingham in 93’ to seek new adventures & experiences in some of the most beautiful places west of the Mississippi. A few places she called home over the years…. Jackson Hole, Santa Fe, Bend, Boise, Palm Springs & Austin. She came full circle and moved back to Bellingham in the fall of 2017.

Originally, Jennifer returned to Bellingham with plans to open a botanical boutique in Downtown. But once she discovered the ‘Retail Advocate’ position open at the time, that was it - she knew THAT is what she was meant to do. Jennifer is passionate about economic development for downtown Bellingham while preserving its uniqueness, history and authenticity.

Jennifer’s professional background is jam-packed with all aspects of the retail and wholesale world; décor and design, floral and events, and even private aviation. Fabulous side note: she worked with Harrison Ford, just to name drop one of the many celebrities from her life. She says he was very “SWOON worthy.”

Across all, Jennifer believes in embracing change, constant learning and growth, both as individuals, partnerships, and community.

 

Board of Directors

Our board consists of representatives from across Bellingham who are dedicated to growing our downtown core.  Get to know them.

President:
CASEY DIGGS
Boundary Bay Brewery

Casey Diggs is the Operations Manager of Boundary Bay Brewery, and has been coming downtown his entire life - watching over time how Bellingham has grown while doing things outside-the-box. He has a deep appreciation for the energy that our community puts into doing “really cool stuff” all while being a compassionate place at the same time. He appreciates the vibrant events the Partnership has created, like Downtown Sounds and the annual Downtown Trick or Treat, saying it’s “so cool to watch all the kids and families head downtown, all smiles and laughs!” He strives to be a good steward for this community and feels lucky to volunteer his time towards making our home as rad as it can be. His favorite color is red, white and blue, he is really good at carrying stuff and is the (self-proclaimed) best high-fiver in Whatcom County.


vice-President:
Keegan Kenfield
Business Owner & Downtown Resident

Keegan moved to Bellingham in 2004 to attend Western Washington University.  While in college he worked for the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club helping run their youth athletics programs.  He graduated with a bachelors in Economics and went to work for Bank of the Pacific.  He has continued to volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club by coaching youth sports and also helping at events.  Along with that he is a board member for the Whatcom Literacy Council and Bellingham Youth Football and a committee member for Ferndale Uncorked and Uncapped, an event to help the Ferndale Food Bank.  During his time in banking he was able to see how housing and business in a community can work together to grow a local economy and has been excited to see how Downtown Bellingham has prospered in recent years - Whatcom County has a diverse group of industries, skills, cultures and lifestyles and bringing all of those together to make Downtown better will only help the County as a whole.


treasurer:
Jennie Pietzrak
Banner BaNk

Jennie is a life-long resident of Whatcom County growing up in Ferndale. She has worked in the financial banking industry her whole career of 16 years and most recently as a Branch Manager at Banner Bank in Downtown Bellingham. She specializes in developing long-term relationships with her clients, small business lending and helping to grow our downtown economy. Jennie loves to be involved in the community and has served with several nonprofit groups such as Lydia Place, Alternative Humane Society, Junior Achievement and multiple fundraisers. Apart from the office and volunteering, Jennie enjoys traveling internationally, water sports, and getting outside to explore the Pacific Northwest with her fur child, Mya!


Secretary:
nICOLE STARON
RMC Architects

Nicole moved to Bellingham in 2013 after being drawn to the area for it's variety of outdoor activities. Being able to ski, golf, mountain bike or sail - all in the same day - makes the Pacific Northwest an amazing place to live. Since moving to Bellingham, Nicole has been a volunteer for the Northwest American Institute of Architects, Habitat for Humanity, and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership Design Committee. She feels that creating vitality in our community is essential in cultivating a meaningful place for all Bellingham residents to live and work. Nicole is a design professional at RMC Architects, and has enjoyed working on a wide variety of projects from master planning, programming, multifamily housing, to graphic design for marketing. Apart from the office and volunteering, Nicole enjoys getting outdoors and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband Patrick.


Barry Dikeman
Ram Construction

Barry first moved to Bellingham in 1993 and worked in the local construction industry until 2008, when he and his wife relocated to Portland, Maine to be near family.  He returned to Bellingham in 2016, lured back by his love for the natural surroundings and his commitment to live and work in a community where he could make a difference.  He now serves as the General Manager of RAM Construction where he oversees strategic project planning and capital management. Barry feels that Bellingham’s downtown is well positioned with many opportunities for increasing business and adding residents to create a true downtown neighborhood and he is excited to help the Downtown Bellingham Partnership capitalize on these opportunities and help steer the redevelopment.  Barry serves as volunteer Park Steward for the Bellingham Parks Department, maintaining trails in the Sehome Hill Arboretum and in his free-time, he enjoys exploring the local trails and waterways with his wife Heidi and their goofy dog, Aster.


Charlie Pasquier
Black Sheep

He’s new! Well, sort of. He’s busy. Coming soon…


rhiannon troutman
fringe boutique

Rhiannon was born in Bellingham the year Bellis Fair Mall was built. Because of this, she grew up in a downtown with a lot of large vacancies and a lackluster spirit. But a move to Portland for school made her to realize just how special Bellingham is, and how uniquely supportive our community is of small businesses of every kind. She loves that almost every business in our downtown core is locally owned -- from herb & spice shops to pet stores, and cider houses to music venues. She decided to move back to Bellingham for this very reason, and opened Fringe Boutique in an historical downtown building in 2015. She loves connecting with the creative community of Whatcom County, and is excited to be a part of a new generation shaping the City of Renewed Excitement through vibrant businesses, engaging events, and a beautiful landscape.


kristen winn
Barlean’s

After 19 years of calling Seattle home and experiencing it's exponential growth, Kristen seized an opportunity to move to Bellingham in 2017, knowing the vibrant, small city had much to offer. With a background in Communications and Event Management, she easily transitioned into her role as Content Marketing Manager at Barlean's, a well-respected local supplements company. Kristen has been on the Board or a member of several art organizations throughout the years, as well as a supporter of Environment Washington and the Washington Trails Association. She has volunteered for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and, most recently, WorkAway Cultural Exchange. With a strong desire to build community and a frequent supporter of downtown retailers, restaurants, and events, joining the Downtown Bellingham Partnership Board was a natural next step. Apart from the office, you'll find Kristen exploring trails, checking out local art or catching some live music. And traveling. Always traveling!