Meeting My Neighbors: Riley Sweeney

Name: Riley Sweeney

Family Member Names: Bryna and Cypress.

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?”:  In some ways, I’m really boring. I grew up in Olympia, Washington, went to Western Washington University where I studied Communication and Politics, married an incredible artist named Bryna, settled down and started a family.

On the other hand, I have a 12 foot tall dragon puppet in my garage that I built for a Celtic spiritual retreat, I made news in college for not wearing pants for a month as part of a protest, the previous Mayor of Bellingham once screamed at me over an expose I published, I’ve watched almost every episode of Doctor Who ever released and I believe kiwis are gross. My party trick used to be naming every US Senator in alphabetical order but since becoming a father that space in my head has been replaced with a million repetitions of “Baby Shark”. Do do do do doo.

But if I had to pick one thing that shows what an utter dork I am, I’d say it’s my radio show. My wife and I write, star in and produce a radio series titled, “Bellingham Terror”. Set in 1935 Whatcom County, it is a mystery/horror series modeled after the old “Thin Man” movies and layered with real historical events. It is a labor of love. Check it out at

What brought you to Ferndale? I was running a political news blog in Whatcom County (while also doing marketing for a real estate company to get by) when the previous city clerk for Ferndale departed for a job down in California. I called the Mayor, who I had interviewed for my blog a few months back and asked about the job. He pointed out that I was already talking fluently about local government with folks online, this should be an easy transition. Next thing you know, I’m answering questions about street lights and water rates.

And I love it. I love being able to help folks connect with each other and solve problems in their community. I enjoyed the small town feel of Ferndale so much that I moved my family out of Bellingham and into the County to be closer to what I love.

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor?

I’ve been working for the city for four years. Four long, glorious years.

Best Ferndale landmark? The railroad bridge of course, it’s iconic!

Your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale. Building Star Park, hands down. Seeing 2,000 volunteers come together for six days and work in the hot, dusty dirt and forge a playground that their children can use was an incredible experience. It was an honor to be part of making that happen.

Who should we meet next? Sara Fassett, she’s a rock star! l

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