Western Washington University's research collaboration with the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration does not end with NOAA's decision not to move to Bellingham. Nor does Western's plan to move Huxley College of the Environment to a redeveloped Bellingham waterfront. That's the word from Paul Cocke of Western's office of communication.
Cocke objected to my story earlier this week on the NOAA decision to move its research fleet from Seattle to Newport, Oregon. He said the story implied that Western might not move its Huxley College of the Environment to the waterfront without NOAA. That move did not depend on NOAA's decision, according to Cocke.
"Western remains firmly committed to being on the Bellingham waterfront," he said. "The decision by NOAA in no way changes that." Cocke pointed out that NOAA and Western have been active partners in the past, and that NOAA had awarded two grants totaling $950,000 to the University's Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, to study why certain kinds of algae create toxic blooms in Puget Sound waters.
The Port of Bellingham is in the process of preparing 220 acres of redeveloped waterfront, including 137 acres of the old Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill, for sale and lease to industry. The Port and City of Bellingham had courted NOAA as the anchor tenant for its redeveloped waterfront.