Proposal to change Blaine's name goes before City Council

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 24, 2014 

BLAINE - The proposal to change the city's name to Blaine Harbor is facing opposition.

The matter will be back before the Blaine City Council Tuesday, May 27. The council could decide then whether to put the name change idea on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Lifelong Blaine resident Angie Dixon, who also owns a photography business, doesn't think it should get that far.

"Blaine is my home. Blaine is where I went to school. Blaine is where I met my friends. Blaine is where I'm raising my children," said Dixon, who is opposed to the name change proposal.

She said she'll bring a contingent of like-minded people to the Tuesday meeting. They'll be wearing T-shirts and tank tops that read "We Are Blaine WA" with a red heart over their city's location, according to Dixon.

If the council decides Tuesday to put the measure before voters, it will mark the second time they've been asked to change Blaine's name to Blaine Harbor.

In 2000, voters defeated the idea 57 percent to 43 percent.

Councilman Clark Cotner, who also is head of the city's Economic Development Advisory Committee, has been leading the most recent effort to change Blaine's name. The matter went before the council May 12 after the advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the name change.

Cotner argued that adding the word "harbor" would attract visitors from Canada who now bypass the border town, highlight Blaine's seaside beauty, and help boost economic development by attracting businesses.

In a previous interview, Cotner said businesses and residents supported the idea.

He collected at least 300 signatures from those who supported changing the city's name to Blaine Harbor.

Dixon said she's found something different in talking to businesses and residents, including going door to door.

"That's not what Blaine wants," she said.

A total of 936 signatures from opponents were gathered through a campaign Dixon launched with friend and fellow Blaine resident Rachel Hrutfiord. It included more than 500 from an online petition at thepetitionsite.com. (Find it by typing "We are Blaine, WA" in the search window.)

Dixon said opponents aren't against growth or tourism. They support working on what the city has and making it great to bring people to Blaine based on its reputation.

As for putting the idea on the ballot, "we feel this is a waste of time and money," she said.

IF YOU GO

The Blaine City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, in Council Chambers at 435 Martin St., Suite 4000, in Blaine. See the agenda by going to ci.blaine.wa.us. Select "Agenda" under "Your Government" and "City Council."

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com .

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