Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shame on Blaine!

Port Townsend, today. The sub-title for this article could read: "Tale of Two Stations!" I just received a newspaper clipping from the Bellingham Herald, reporting the Blaine (Washington) City Council failed to back proponents of "Saving Blaine Station."

As I reported last year, there was a surge of interest in saving the Great Northern railroad station in Blaine, sitting squarely in the surveyors bulls eye. Burlington Northern Santa Fe has plans to improve the Port of Entry International crossing. Removing the dormant station is included in those plans.

Since I am not a resident of Blaine, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the priories the Blaine City Council has established for their community.

But I can comment on the issue of preserving historical structures. There apparently was a ground swell of interest in preserving the station, and the City Council had given tacit approval to continue the preservation process.

So when it came to the final vote, it is a shame that, for the lack of one vote, a myopic city council has prevented a singular opportunity for Blaine to connect to it's railroad history, while providing a venue for the entire community to enjoy.

Shame on Blaine!

By comparison, just three miles and change to the north (3.14) almost within eyesight of Blaine, the City of White Rock British Columbia has done a marvelous job of saving and renovating their Great Northern station.

The floor plans of both station are similar, built within a short time of each other. The White Rock station is a positive icon in the community. The difference between the two stations? Well, The City of White Rock established positive goals and objectives to justify saving their station:

Our Mandate is to collect, preserve, research, exhibit and interpret local history and culture based on four themes:
· Settlement history
· Railway history
· First Nations history
· Natural history

And as I reported on National Train Day, residents of Kelso Washington saved their Northern Pacific station from the wrecker's ball. It has been restored and has taken its place as a classy attraction in the process.

While it is true that every shed, trestle and railroad station cannot be saved, nor indeed should be. But those having the potential for contributing to the vitality and ambiance of a town, should be pursued without hesitation.

When preservation is viewed as an investment in, not an expense to, the future of a community, they produce exciting results! Like White Rock and Kelso, these restored structures enhance and preserve the historical connection between the city and the railroad, and promote tourism.

City council members come and go and few remember their names. But bad decisions are forever. It is inexcusable when short-range judgments ruin long-range opportunity.

1 Comments - Click here:

Unknown said...

Very good comments- Blaine could have so much to offer as it in a beautiful setting, an active fishing community and a first class marina, but offers nothing to tourists (except the wonderful Plover, thank goodness). Shame on plain Blaine is correct and reflects the attitude to keep Blaine from progress. ylsib

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