Whatcom County: Columbia

The weather is a comfortable middle area, between shedding the last of winter and the opening notes of spring. Residents of the Columbia neighborhood are coming out of hibernation. People are outside jogging, walking their dogs and cycling. Lori Pobuta is pouring a cup of coffee and serving up donuts, observing the quiet commotion from her window.

Long before Pobuta built her house in the Columbia neighborhood, she knew little of Bellingham outside of the Bellis Fair mall. Pobuta moved to Bellingham to be closer to her family in Canada. After exploring the area, she felt like she had discovered a secret. Bellingham was the ideal location: a charming, safe, affordable place to live with a good quality of life. “Bellingham got ahold of me,” she said, “like it does everyone.”

Pobuta lives in an immaculate home with a modern minimalist design, but peppered with decorations made of sheep’s wool, a mix of style and comfort. She rents out the ground floor accessory dwelling unit to traveling nurses.

Nearly every window in the house has a scenic view. The stairwell windows look to Mount Baker, the front windows to the water and sunsets. “I had never seen a golden light like that, coming off the bay,” she said.

As a single woman living alone, one who had just built her first house no less, Pobuta said she was thankful for the surrounding community. Neighbors gave an abundance of supplies and advice when she started her vegetable garden.

Neighborhood newsletters, written and distributed by community organizer Flip Breskin, help keep everyone in-the-know about events and emergencies. The community cares for its own, from returning lost pets to sharing surplus garden goods.

Pobuta started a summer cycling club, which includes pit stops at “the neighborhood beer fridge,” Elizabeth Station. She also enjoys taking strolls to Elizabeth Park and Squalicum Beach. The sidewalks of the Columbia neighborhood are lined with trees and different kinds of shrubbery. “Most residents treat gardening like therapy,” said Pobuta. “Things grow here.” After moving to Bellingham, Pobuta said she learned more, she started shopping local and eating more organic foods. Turns out, plants aren’t the only things thriving in the Columbia neighborhood.

On the Market

2919 Meridian St., Bellingham $269,000 | MLS# 1106555

This two-bedroom, one-bath single-family home was built in the 1920s. Its open floor-plan joins kitchen and living room, and sees plenty of natural light from the large windows. The charming 1,015-square-foot home has a brick fireplace and plenty of room for gardening in the front and back lawns, this house is full of classic Bellingham character.


Number of Homes: 1,600

Average Days on: Market 31

Median List Price: $360,000

Schools: Columbia Elementary, Whatcom Middle School, and Bellingham High School

"Nearly every window in the house has a scenic view. The stairwell windows look to Mount Baker, the front windows to the water and sunsets."