Bellingham neighborhood’s sign shows how residents work together

A new sign inspired by the history of the Birchwood neighborhood is the latest effort by residents to improve their section of the city.

Russell Jones, a welding instructor at Bellingham Technical College, designed and built the sign, and helped install it on the corner of Northwest and Birchwood avenues on Dec. 7.

The arch, which spans the sidewalk along Birchwood Avenue, is laser-cut steel with a piece of mirror-polished stainless steel inside. The columns are street-light poles donated by the state Department of Transportation.

The sign was loosely inspired by a photograph of the entrance to the Bellingham Coal Mines, which was close to the new sign’s location.

The sign was one of several improvement projects in the neighborhood this year that were spearheaded by Birchwood Neighborhood Association President April Barker.

“We think of ourselves as a real industrious neighborhood,” Barker said, referring to the sign’s historical inspiration. “Not industrious in terms of, ‘We have a lot of industry,’ but industrious because we try to make a lot of things happen for our neighborhood.”