Blaine native, longtime businessman appointed to vacant City Council seat


BLAINE - A Blaine native and longtime businessman has been appointed to Ken Oplinger's vacant seat on the City Council.

Steven Lawrenson, 63, was sworn in Monday, May 13. The council voted 4-2 to appoint him, with Paul Greenough and Charlie Hawkins voting no.

Three candidates were vying for Oplinger's council position, which ends in 2015.

Oplinger announced last month that he would be leaving at the end of May to become president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Regional Chamber of Commerce in California.

Oplinger has served as president of Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry since October 2003.

Lawrenson, a longtime Blaine businessman, said running for council is "something I've wanted to do for quite some time."

But he was too busy until now with the demands of his career, Lawrenson said, noting that he's semi-retired.

Lawrenson, a fourth-generation Blaine resident, will be following in his family's footsteps. His grandmother was on the City Council and his father served as mayor - at the same time.

"There's been a family tradition of serving," said Lawrenson, who also has been president of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce.

As a member of the council, Lawrenson said he wants to keep Blaine's small-town atmosphere but grow retail and commercial businesses to give the city a more stable source of revenue.

Reach KIE RELYEA at or call 715-2234.

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