Business workshop addresses signage concerns

By Steve Guntli

Proper signage has long been a challenge for businesses in downtown Blaine. A new workshop will help business owners navigate the tricky regulations and develop new ideas for attracting business downtown.

On Tuesday, August 18, the Blaine Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a free downtown business workshop. The workshop, held at 7 p.m. at the Pizza Factory at 738 Peace Portal Drive, is free to attend and open to the public.

Carroll Solomon from the Blaine chamber said the idea for the workshop came up a few months ago.

“We had a chamber meeting and we began to discuss signage, and some of the people attending were getting borderline rowdy,” she said. “People are frustrated at the sign situation and feel state regulations are forcing them out of business.”

Peace Portal Drive is a state highway, and local business owners have had difficulty lining up their signage with both state and city regulations.

“The goal of this workshop is to figure out how to work with the state and come up with some new ideas to draw people into town,” Solomon said.

In particular, Solomon said business owners want to attract Canadians.

“People will cross the border, enter the traffic circle and when they don’t see signs for what they’re looking for, they get back on the highway,” she said. “They don’t know where the city center is, so they don’t know what we have to offer.”

Solomon said the workshop is being treated as a brainstorming session in which business owners’ input will be welcome. A representative from the city’s planning department will attend to answer questions about state regulations and determine which ideas are feasible.

Solomon is hoping at least 20 people to attend. To RSVP for the workshop, contact Solomon at 332-6484 or by email at

  1. Since the folks in Olympia apparently believe Bellingham is the northernmost city in the state, I suggest that the city go ahead and put up any signs they want. It could be decades before Olympia realizes it and decades more before they get around to complaining about it!


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