Upon my arrival in Bellingham to attend Western Washington University it became apparent to me that Samish Way was an area that I did not feel too safe in. I have been reading articles that you have published on the Samish Way cleanup, though I admit that I have mixed feelings about the situation.
I do agree with city leaders that crime rates along Samish Way are an issue for the area. The levels of methamphetamine contamination that were found in the rooms of the Aloha Motel and the Villa Inn are immediate evidence that the health and safety of our citizens staying in these facilities was at risk.
By condemning these motels, however, the city is taking away housing that some families rely on to keep off of the streets. I have seen that the Samish Way Coalition is working to create a resource center for those who reside in the troubled area, yet I am not sure if this alone will make a big impact.
I am left wondering about what other actions can be taken to provide a better quality of life for citizens affected by this condemnation. I also find myself thinking about where the crime of Aloha’s past will find itself next. Could this lead to closing of more businesses along the Samish Way?
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As a resident of the Bellingham area, I believe that we should all ask ourselves: What am I doing to strengthen this community that I call home?