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September 16, 2011
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Basement apartment

It's more expensive than the foothill villa... (Orin O'Neill photos)

The new semester at WWU starts at the end of the month. Students will be looking for places to live. At the moment, they seem to have a lot of choices.

I have a pretty good deal where I live, but I’m always on the lookout for a better one. I ride past the building advertising the vacancy above all the time, and the sign’s been posted for a while, so I thought I’d stop by and check it out. It’s a cool old building, but it costs more than the foothill villa. And there’s no place to park the GTS, never mind the Fourth Estate.

4 bdrm house

There are a lot of 4-bedroom rentals in Bellingham, which is not so unusual in a college town. The one above, which is on the way to Fairhaven, is listed for $1,200/month, which split four ways is pretty reasonable. And there’s a garage. Finding three roommates would be the hard part, however.

Private bedroom building

This one’s just down the street from the foothill villa. I don’t know if you can read the white sign, but it says “Private Bedroom $450/month”. Similar cost to a house split four ways, but without having to find the roommates. I’m not sure how this compares to a dorm room. I would hope there’s room for one of those mini-fridges, a microwave and a hot plate, but you’d be eating out most of the time, yes?

Log cabin for rent

The place above is part of a cluster on the Boulevard. Yes, the siding looks like logs, though it’s probably not a real log cabin. Each of the four or five in the cluster are painted different colors. One’s bright green.

Sonrise apartment

Here’s one of many apartment buildings on 21st Street, which is a hop and a skip away from the university campus. This area is a moveable feast of off-brand Chinese scooters, with the occasional Ruckus or Zuma sprinkled in. Again, I don’t know if you can read the sign, but the building is managed by a company called Son-Rise Properties. Yes, that’s how it’s spelled. When I was looking for a place in the ‘Ham, I visited several of their properties, and what I remember most about them is what dumps they were. And the rents were on high side.

House office

There are lots of stately houses-turned-offices here, mostly on the main drags. This one’s particularly nice, but it’s been for lease as long as I’ve been here. It’s across the street from the library, and a short walk from City Hall and the county courthouse. A great place for Scootin’ Old Skool editorial offices. In my dreams.


Bellingham has an awful lot of vacant commercial and retail space at the moment. The one above is on State Street, just south of the Herald Building. There are several that would be perfect locations for a scooter dealership, but as far as I know, no such plans are in the works.

Cube apartments

Finally, here’s an apartment building just up the hill from my place, on Bill McDonald Parkway. I ran across it a couple months after moving to Bellingham, but had I known it was here while I was looking I’d have at least poked my head in. It has this Soviet apartment-block sensibility that I find strangely appealing. It is not, however, made of shipping containers.

Many years ago I ran across a real-estate listing for a lot in Bellingham that had a concrete pad and utility hookups, I’m guessing so one could park a motorhome or other RV. It was dirt-cheap, and I could’ve bought it, but didn’t. A shipping-container house would totally have worked. Oh, well.

If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat this weekend, I hope you find something good. Favicon

One Comment
  1. mark morris permalink
    September 18, 2011 1:45 am


    Interesting article. So it seems that your university town is like mine in that rents are high. That stinks.

    “Private Bedroom $450/month”–I lived in a place some years ago where you would rent a bedroom and share the common areas with whoever else rented the other bedrooms. The first year I had really good roommates–one was from Germany. He was a real good kid. When you calculate out how much the rental agency makes, they make a killing.

    I also had a friend who worked for a government agency who went to Iraq a few years ago. He said that they all lived in shipping containers. They were pre-fabbed to have room for four people. Everything was built in place and it was all shipped to the site.

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