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Posted on: October 14, 2021

Port Lights up Digester Tanks and Installs Community Stage on Downtown Waterfront

The six massive steel-riveted digester tanks on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront will glow deep sea blue tonight if the Seattle Kraken hockey team get their first win against the Nashville Predators.   

Regardless of the hockey outcome, the digester tanks will soon shine orange in celebration of Halloween and red and green for Christmas. The Port has installed color changing lights to illuminate the tanks which are 56 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter.  The digester tanks were once the heart of a pulping process in which wood chips were reduced to pulp. 

The new lights are one of many public access improvements the Port completed this year to invite the community down to the waterfront and improve safety and security. 

Digester Tanks 2

“Improving public access to Bellingham’s downtown waterfront is a priority for the members of our community and for the Port of Bellingham” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix.  “This year alone we expanded our bike park in partnership with Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, started a pop-up container village with Kulshan Trackside and the Selkie Scoop, brought in food trucks, installed new bathrooms, built a grass lawn, added a basketball hoop, recruited the Wednesday Farmer’s market and other events, and just finished construction of a new community stage thanks to the generous donation of Peter Paulsen.”  

The ‘Peter Paulsen’ stage is located on the grass lawn below the digester tanks and is clad with red bricks from Georgia Pacific’s former Pulp and Paper Mill to celebrate the history of waterfront. The stage was made possible by a donation from Peter Paulsen who worked with the Port for many years as the original owner of Hotel Bellwether. 

Peter Paulson Stage

“It’s terrific to see so many people of all ages enjoying a waterfront which was cut off from downtown for over 100 years” said Port Commission President Ken Bell.  “2021 has been a great year for public access and we have many more exciting projects in the works which will increasingly make our downtown a vibrant place to live, work, play and visit.” 


Lighted Digester Photo courtesy of Meredith Pedak: https://instagram.com/wildlife.is.the.good.life

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