Downtown Bellingham Partnership Hosts Spring Clean-Up Event with WWU Volunteers

The Downtown Bellingham Partnership (DBP) hosted “Downtown Spring Cleaning '' on Saturday, April 15 in partnership with Western Washington University.

Western student Caitlyn Hitchcock takes a pause from her cleanup work downtown to give a thumbs-up.

The DBP called on volunteers from the Western community to help clean up Downtown Bellingham in conjunction with Earth Week.

The DBP is a nonprofit organization that strives to enhance the growth and wellbeing of Downtown Bellingham. One of the main things that the partnership does is cleaning up the downtown area.

“The partnership manages downtown’s landscaping, cleaning and graffiti removal teams with funding support from the City of Bellingham,” Nathalie Wagler, the partnership’s events and promotions coordinator said. “A majority of the things that are downtown-related to cleanliness and landscaping is our team’s job, and we are excited to have students helping us with that.”

More than 20 volunteers at the event helped cover graffiti on a mural located in the alley next to the Railroad Avenue Parking Garage, cleaned up the alleys stretching from East Chestnut Street to East Champion Street, performed landscaping across multiple blocks on State Street, and more.

Alec Howard, landscape and clean team assistant at the DBP, has worked at the partnership for a year. He said the best aspect of his work is being able to interact with the downtown community on a regular basis, and that events such as the clean-up are a massive help to the partnership’s landscaping team.

“When we have volunteers like this, it really makes a huge difference and helps us do our job better,” Howard said. “It gives us a head start in keeping things looking nice, and it’s so cool to have Western students connect with the place that they are living in.”

The downtown cleanup crew celebrates a job well done.

Howard said the event is a huge help, especially because alley clean-up can sometimes take a back seat when there is a big focus on keeping the main streets of downtown clean.

Caitlyn Hitchcock, a Western student studying human services, said that the driving force behind her choosing to volunteer at the event was wanting to help better the community.

“I thought it was a great and super beneficial event for the community, especially the homeless community,” Hitchcock said. “Getting involved is my main priority. Also trying to help people who normally do not have anyone helping them.”

At the end of the event, the partnership provided volunteers with snacks, drinks, coupons to local businesses and even a raffle for a membership to the Downtown Bellingham Insiders Program.

Wagler said that she hopes to have more events with volunteers from Western in the future.

“We are really grateful to Western for partnering with us for this event,” Wagler said. “Our landscaping team is small but mighty, and when we have events like this, it makes such a huge difference with all the extra hands. We hope that we can continue to do more of these and continue to do them more frequently.”

The City of Bellingham funds the Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s cleaning and landscaping programs ($165,000) and graffiti removal pilot project ($30,000) annually. For more information on the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, please visit To learn more about ways to get involved in events like these, visit