Local Director of Futurewise now Head of Whatcom County Natural Resources; “Who’s Running Whatcom County? continued”

On October 5th, 2015 I posted this comment on the Liberty Road Facebook page:

Question to be asked and must be answered soon:

Whatcom County has hired the former Director of Futurewise-Whatcom County, part of the group who is suing Whatcom County.

Do you know of this new addition to our Planning and Development Staff? How can Whatcom County hire the former director of Futurewise Bellingham? Is this even legal?

Who runs Whatcom County?Futurewise_Ryan_Ericson_on_WC_PDS_Staff_Directory

After the Whatcom Tea Party debate last Wednesday, Oct. 7th, 2015, I asked Executive Jack Louws about his decision to hire Ryan Ericson and requested that he share what he said to me. The posting below is Executive Louws’ response which was received yesterday. In addition to that I also received an email of correspondence that Ryan Ericson sent out to a number of groups regarding the Futurewise “Greenlinks” project.

My verdict is still out on whether it is a wise move for Whatcom County to hire Mr. Ericson as head of the Natural Resources Department within our Planning and Development Services (PDS), not because he is not qualified to hold the position, but because I question where his allegiance will fall when dealing with the public at-large to productively use and retain the value of their personal real property. Whatcom County residents and tax payers need people who understand that civil servants work for the people. With the continual intrusion of regulations, licensing, government planning, and taking productive land out of production; farmers, rural cottage businesses, rural home owners, and yes, rural industries such as those out at Cherry Point need a strong voice in Planning and Development Services, not more rules.

One thing is for certain; Executive Louws admittedly takes full responsibility for his decision to hire Ryan Ericson, former head of Futurewise-Whatcom County and has the ability to undo that decision if Ryan fails to be a positive addition. Mr. Ericson must prove that he is there to work for all the people, assists to develop a smooth, streamlined permitting process for people and businesses that partners with them to assure real value is achieved. Whatcom County Planning has a reputation for throwing up road blocks that delay construction projects. If Ryan Ericson can turn this into a positive and timely process which helps people, you’ll hear it here first. If not, you’ll hear that here too.

~ Kris Halterman


All hires in Whatcom County are my responsibility, whether I am directly involved or not. I was directly involved in the hiring of Ryan Ericson, and was fully aware that his position at Futurewise would be of concern to some community members. Therefore I fully vetted his application, his work history, and interviewed him prior to PDS offering him the position. I take full responsibility for his job performance, which I believe will be positive.

It is a well-known fact that Whatcom County can do a better job of facilitating the permit processes, particularly regarding Critical Areas and Shorelines, and I have charged PDS (Planning and Development Services) to solve this problem. Ryan has been tasked with working with the team to provide order, consistency and efficiency for the applicants. A tentative date in early December has been set to meet many of the wetland consultants to share ideas surrounding efficiencies and consistency of review. Ryan has shared ideas that he and his team are working on that may be able to be implemented by year end to improve results.

He is on the job, and taking his responsibilities seriously. Please take some time to meet Ryan. I believe you will be impressed with his demeanor and attitude.


Jack Louws

Whatcom County Executive

311 Grand Avenue, Suite 108

Bellingham, WA 98225

Ph 360 778 5200


From: Ryan Ericson
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2015 3:49 PM
To: AlanC@lummi-nsn.gov; Ann Russell; Austin Rose; Benjamin, Sara Brooke; Brendan Brokes; Brian Evans; Chris Knudsen; Cliff Strong; Darcy Jones; Edgar Franks; Emily Hegarty; Eric Carabba; George Boggs; Heather Trim; Hilary Franz; info@greenbriarhomes.net; Janet Curran; John Belisle; Kate Blystone; KUBA461@ECY.WA.GOV; Nathan Rice; Oliver Grah; Perry Eskridge; Pool, Lisa A.; Rachel Benbrook; rlacroix; Rose Lathrop; Sepler, Rick M.; ‘AlanC@lummi-nsn.gov’; Amy Dearborn; ‘Andy Rheaume’; ‘Brendan.Brokes@dfw.wa.gov’; ‘briane@biawc.com’; ‘dinicola@usgs.gov’; ‘gboggs@whatcomcd.org’; ‘janet.curran@noaa.gov’; ‘ograh@nooksack-nsn.gov’; ‘rbenbrook@n-sea.org’; ‘Steve.Hollenhorst@wwu.edu’; ‘steve.hood@ecy.wa.gov’; ‘Wendy Steffensen’
Subject: Stakeholder Meeting Moved to October

Stakeholder and Technical Workgroup,

Greenlinks_Bham_Images_RaingardenI am writing to inform you I have accepted a position with Whatcom County. I will continue to be involved in the GreenLink project in my capacity as the PDS Natural Resource Supervisor this will provide continuity for the project. Heather Trim will continue to be the Project Supervisor and we have a new Futurewise employee who will be working part-time on GreenLink on the communication and outreach tasks. To allow time to develop material for the next meeting the stakeholder workgroup will meet in October. The technical workgroup will receive a doodle poll for their next meeting. It has been a pleasure working on GreenLink as the Whatcom County lead staff member and I look forward to working on GreenLink in my new capacity.

Kind Regards,

Ryan Ericson

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