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.

     
     
    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.  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.

    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   Operations & Development 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 Operations Manager, Marissa provides administrative support for the exciting programs and events that the Downtown Bellingham Partnership brings to her favorite place in the world. It’s the least she can do.

    Marissa McGrath
    Operations & Development 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 Operations Manager, Marissa provides administrative support for the exciting programs and events that the Downtown Bellingham Partnership brings to her favorite place in the world. It’s the least she can do.

      Dan Gifford   Landscaping Lead    landscaping@downtownbellingham.com

    Dan Gifford
    Landscaping Lead
    landscaping@downtownbellingham.com

      Morgan Henry   Events & Programming Coordinator    morgan@downtownbellingham.com    Morgan is a Bellingham native, but moved to Seattle in 2007. She later followed her wanderlust and headed south in 2014, landing in Oakland, CA for three years.  During her time there, Morgan completed her first triathlon and facilitated many events; ranging from backyard movie theaters to logistics for large community events. In 2015, she felt called back to her roots. Once she returned to Bellingham, Morgan began to bring her experience in event planning, placemaking, and community camaraderie to her hometown. She went to her first Morning Jam event in August 2015 as a way to get further involved in Downtown Bellingham. She is now the curator for that series and the lead for DBP's Commercial Street Night Market event.  When she's not busy at the DBP, Morgan loves to cook for friends, plan for her next epic day-trip adventure, or watch  Chef's Table  with a bowl of her famous black truffle popcorn.

    Morgan Henry
    Events & Programming Coordinator
    morgan@downtownbellingham.com

    Morgan is a Bellingham native, but moved to Seattle in 2007. She later followed her wanderlust and headed south in 2014, landing in Oakland, CA for three years.

    During her time there, Morgan completed her first triathlon and facilitated many events; ranging from backyard movie theaters to logistics for large community events. In 2015, she felt called back to her roots. Once she returned to Bellingham, Morgan began to bring her experience in event planning, placemaking, and community camaraderie to her hometown. She went to her first Morning Jam event in August 2015 as a way to get further involved in Downtown Bellingham. She is now the curator for that series and the lead for DBP's Commercial Street Night Market event.

    When she's not busy at the DBP, Morgan loves to cook for friends, plan for her next epic day-trip adventure, or watch Chef's Table with a bowl of her famous black truffle popcorn.

      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.


    Secretary:
    SHERYL RUSSELL
    Downtown Resident

    Sheryl is a downtown resident and co-owner of a small business in Bellingham. She moved into the Morse Square Condominiums on Railroad Avenue in 2007, after reserving the opportunity to purchase her unit when the project was first announced. Sheryl sought downtown living because she wanted to participate in an urban lifestyle, and at the same time, have a smaller environmental footprint. Downtown is her favorite neighborhood in the city; she enjoys being part of the diverse group who live, work, learn and play in the urban center. Sheryl is excited to be on the Board and shares a vision of a safe, vibrant and connected urban center. She looks forward to working with the Downtown Bellingham Partnership to help make downtown Bellingham the best it can be.


    Michelle Bouma
    Former Retailer

    Michelle Bouma is the former owner and curator of Mi Shoes and Heroine Clothing. Currently, she is the Art Curator for Honey Salon and is volunteering her time for organizations that she holds dear to her heart. Her love fo Downtown Bellingham has not faded since closing her businesses, and she continues to be a champion of the 'Shop Local' movement and remains an active member of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership board. She loves the momentum being built Downtown by new businesses and the community’s waterfront development. Some of her favorite places Downtown include the Pickford Film Center, Ormolulu, Sojourn, Temple Bar, Black Sheep and the Bellingham Cider Co. 


    DEB DEWEES
    WWU Alumni Association

    Deborah came to Western Washington University in 1998 and is currently the Assistant Vice President for Alumni, Annual Giving and Advancement Communications. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Western Alumni Association. Deborah’s career in public higher education includes advancement roles as Assistant Director of Development for University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, and Executive Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of Resource Development for Edmonds Community College. Deborah has a bachelor’s in communications with a minor in business administration from Marywood College in Scranton, PA and also studied at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her designation as a Certified Fundraising Professional in 1990 from the University of Indiana School of Fundraising.


    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.


    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.


    Shannon Larkin
    Ketchup + Mustard

    Shannon grew up in a small town just north of Detroit. After living in several locations, from Savannah to Seattle, she settled in Bellingham in 2003. As co-owner of both Ketchup+Mustard and Tap Trail, Shannon became involved in the downtown scene and fell in love with the culture and community that makes Bellingham truly special. Shannon is committed to helping amplify the best parts of our beloved city, but when she’s not working, you can find her biking to a local brewery, walking her dogs or trail running.


    Charlie Pasquier
    Black Sheep & Goat Mountain Pizza

    He’s new! Coming soon…


    Jennie Pietzrak
    Banner BaNk

    She’s new! Coming soon…


    Bert Rotter
    Bank of the pacific

    He’s new! Coming soon…


    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.