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Bellingham, Washington

From Academic Kids

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Bellingham's Old Fairhaven neighborhood - April 2004
Bellingham is the county seat of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. It is situated on Bellingham Bay, which is protected by Lummi Island, Portage Island, and the Lummi Peninsula, and opens onto the Strait of Georgia. It lies west of Mount Baker and Lake Whatcom (from which it gets its drinking water), north of the Chuckanut Mountain and Skagit Valley, and Whatcom Creek runs through the center of the city. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 67,171, although a recent calculation places the city's population at 73,469.

The tongue in cheek nickname of Bellingham is the "City of Subdued Excitement." A local politician called Bellingham this in seriousness, and the local alternative press and alternative culture has been using this nickname ever since.

The current boundaries of the city have grown to add the former cities of Fairhaven (now home to the southern terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway System), New Whatcom, and several others. Bellingham is also home to Western Washington University.

The Bellingham International Airport (http://www.portofbellingham.com/airport/default.htm) serves regularly scheduled commuter flights to and from Seattle and, more recently, flights to Las Vegas, Nevada. As of August, 2004, the airport is home of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's first Air and Marine Operations Center (http://www.ice.gov/graphics/amo/), to assist with border surveillance. Amtrak also serves Bellingham, which is the first stop in the United States for southbound trains from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Contents

History

Bellingham was officially incorporated on November 4, 1903. It was the result of the consolidation of four towns initially situated around Bellingham Bay: Whatcom, Sehome, Bellingham, and Fairhaven.

The foothills around Bellingham were clearcut after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to provide the lumber for the rebuilding of San Francisco. In the past, coal mining was commonplace near town. A fictionalized account of the history of Bellingham is "The Living" by Annie Dillard.

On June 10, 1999, the Olympic Pipeline, which carries gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from refineries near Ferndale to locations down the I-5 corridor as far south as Portland (including all the jet fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport), ruptured in Bellingham in the Whatcom Falls Park near Whatcom Creek, leaking 237,000 US gallons (897 m³) of gasoline into the creek. The vapor layer from this overcame an 18 year old man who was fishing in the creek and two younger boys. An explosion was somehow set off and burned over a mile (1.6 km) of the creek bed and sent a black smoke cloud over 30,000 feet (10 km) into the air. Due to road closures and evacuations around the creek, although some buildings were destroyed, there were no further fatalities than these three (the younger boys died the next day from extensive burns over most of their bodies). The explosion resulted in over $45 million in property damage. Several years later, the families of the pipeline victims settled with the pipeline company for more than $100 million in damages, which they pledge to use to help support pipeline safety and provide legal representation for pipeline accident victims across the nation.

Geography

Location of Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham is located at 48°45'1" North, 122°28'30" West (48.750178, -122.474975)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 82.2 km² (31.7 mi²). 66.4 km² (25.6 mi²) of it is land and 15.8 km² (6.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 19.19% water.

Demographics

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 67,171 people, 27,999 households, and 13,999 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,011.5/km² (2,619.3/mi²). There are 29,474 housing units at an average density of 443.8/km² (1,149.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 87.88% White, 0.98% Black or African American, 1.48% Native American, 4.25% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 2.16% from other races, and 3.08% from two or more races. 4.63% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 27,999 households out of which 23.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% are married couples living together, 9.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.0% are non-families. 33.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.24 and the average family size is 2.83.

In the city the population is spread out with 17.7% under the age of 18, 23.8% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,530, and the median income for a family is $47,196. Males have a median income of $35,288 versus $25,971 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,483. 20.6% of the population and 9.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.2% of those under the age of 18 and 9.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Famous people from Bellingham

References

External links

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State of Washington
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State capital:

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Regions:

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Major cities:

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Smaller cities:

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Counties:

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