The Bellingham Business Journal
The Port of Bellingham on Tuesday approved a lease for Chinook Enterprises to take over the former Current Industries facility at 3720 Williamson Way, a move that could put workers with developmental disabilities back to work.
Chinook Enterprises, a nonprofit that has been operating in Skagit County for 30 years and has placed more than 750 people with disabilities in jobs, is planning to pick up where Current Industries left off when it went bankrupt last year.
Since then, the port, county and local businesses that provided projects to Current Industries — including Wood Stone Corporation, Alpha Technologies and Blue Sea Systems —have been working to secure a new sheltered workplace for approximately 40 employes who lost their jobs.
“We all were concerned about those employees when Current Industries closed,” said Commission President Jim Jorgensen in a press release. “We know they can face real barriers in the workplace and we wanted to do what we could to help them find new opportunities.”
Whatcom County owns the 7,000-square-foot building and the Port of Bellingham owns the land. The county agreed to invest about $150,000 in building improvements and repairs on behalf of Chinook Enterprises.
“I am pleased the county is able to partner with the port and Chinook Enterprises to provide jobs to the many people seeking employment in our community,” County Executive Pete Kremen said.
Rob Martin, executive director of Chinook Enterprises, said his organization plans to begin operations as soon as the building is ready this fall.
For more information, call Chinook Industries at (360) 428-0140 or visit www.chinookenterprises.org