Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Interesting Discovery at Western Washington University.

A previous blog entry (click here to read it) spoke to advertising in the Western Front in which a local property management firm placed an ad for homes with 2 to 5 bedrooms within easy walk of WWU. Speaking with some WWU students the other day, I found several who were planning to move in groups of 5 into single family homes in the York Neighborhood. They expressed surprised when I apprised them of the zoning regulations prohibiting such rentals.

This should not shock those who might take a casual stroll through the Viking Union, as I did last week. There, next to the US post office annex, was a bulletin board with housing rental offers (each bearing the approval of the relevant office of the Viking Union) of single family homes most of which expressly stated that the rentals were available for 4-6 persons. A particular ad even provided a per person rate. One home was at 21st and Mills, another on James St. in the York Neighborhood, yet another on Racine St. and finally one on 34th St where, by the bye, a homeowner recently received a lower home valuation by the assessor’s office due to the proliferation of illegal rooming houses on that street.

So, here we have an office within WWU which is approving the posting of ads from landlords who are clearly violating the Bellingham Municipal Code. (Check the WWU on-line ad list yourself by clicking here. Then click on List Your Rental Unit or Room [for listing agents] and then click on View Rental List) Why is the university allowing the posting of such ads? Our least expectation is that WWU would ensure that it does not become involved in activities which have a propensity to support scofflaw landlords. The university could also post notices with the text of the city’s law and declare it highly recommends not entering into rental situations which are clearly code violations. No wonder then that the students profess ignorance of city laws when the university gives its tacit approval. Perhaps the Mayor could pen a note to the WWU hierarchy asking that they cease involvement in such advertising.


Anonymous said...

Good Evening Dick....

Haven't posted in awhile due to some medical issues and travel. Your post about the tacit approval of WWU in posting ads soliciting people to partake in an illegal enterprise is spot on. I'm now convinced that our city government is the best government special interest groups can buy and that the city is, in fact, owned and operated by WWU.

However, WWU isn't the only scofflaw institution in the game here. Whatcom Community College is also very adept at the game. One of the illegal boarding houses across the street from me has in filled with people attending WCC and are players on the basketball team. The interesting aspect of this is that one of the assistant coaches in concert with the head coach are 2nd job employees of the slum lord that runs this house. In fact, the basketball coaches are actually placing people in house. The house has become a party house, a trash dump and an eyesore to the neighborhood in addition to a parking nightmare for those of us who are owner occupants. So here we have a taxpayer supported community college with employees of the college teaching the students that it's in fact, OK to disrespect the neighbors and break the law to suit their needs.

I'm sorry to say Dick that I think we have lost the war.

Larry M.

zonemaven said...


Thanks for the tip on WCC. I will check further on this. Look for more in a future blog entry