Meeting My Neighbors: Sara Fassett

Name: Sara Fassett Family Member Names: Jordyn Fassett (daughter) 19; Taylor Fassett (son) 17 Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” This is such a big question!  As I would imagine it is for many people, I feel like my life has gone through so many transformations that have brought me here today.  I would like to talk about what has brought me to where I am right now and why I am so excited about it. When our family moved to Ferndale, we bought our house right up the street from Mountain View Elementary where both kids would go. What an amazing school and I am still sad it is gone.  However, back then it was a fabulous place for my kids to be.  I started volunteering right away and came to know other parents, the teachers, staff, and other volunteers.  A few years in, I got involved in the volunteer Art program.  Funny because I am not artistic at all. Seven sets of portfolios with 5 different artists would travel throughout the Ferndale elementary schools.  Art docents (parent volunteers) would teach about each of the artists in the classrooms with projects for each.  By the time a child left 6th grade, they would have been exposed to 35 different artists!  All shared by volunteers.  At Mountain View, our program would end with the Art Fair where we showcased the art the kids had created throughout the halls and at the Fair itself.  I so wish this program was still in happening…I took over the program for the last 3 years before Mountain View closed and it was through this that I met and got to know Bertella Hanson who was the backbone of the program in the school district. Flash forward to 2016 – I was just getting back into real estate and working at Rockwood Realty on Main Street.  One day, Bertella walks in!  It had been years since I had seen her and she was inviting us to be a member of the Ferndale Downtown Association  (FDA).  I was happy to see her and of course we joined.  Through this and my association with her, I started becoming more interested in what was happening in our Downtown Ferndale where I now worked.  I got more involved and then met Kelsey Rowlson with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.  We partnered up to go around visiting the business around town on behalf of our different organizations.  It was so eye opening to chat with local business owners and hear their thoughts, both positive and negative.  I love to talk with people and I felt like this was a way I could make a difference and help bridge a gap I saw.  I was invited to be a Chamber Ambassador and then approached as a potential Board member and was elected in 2018.  In the meantime, I was appointed to the City of Ferndale’s Parks, Recreation, & Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB). I feel so fortunate to be a part of the all 3 organizations that are working together to make sure Ferndale is a thriving, vibrant part of the greater Whatcom County community where people want to come live and do their business.  We have a truly wonderful group of folks throughout our city organizations who only want the best for Ferndale and I am so grateful to be a small part of it;) What brought you to Ferndale? When my daughter Jordyn was approaching Kindergarten in 2005, we were living in Bellingham.  I remember driving around one day and seeing a group of high school aged kids wandering downtown when school was in session.  I had this epiphany that I wanted to raise my kids in a smaller town and started asking everyone I knew where they went to school and what they liked about it.  I had so many people tell me how much they loved going to Ferndale.  Not one negative opinion!  This was the telltale sign for me that this was where I wanted to raise my family.  And although my superficial reasons for wanting to move make me laugh now (Bellingham is a great town as well ) I am so grateful we made the decision to move our family to the Ferndale community.  Right from our first days here, we felt welcomed. I have always told people one of the greatest things about this town is the sense of community.  I know that if I ever needed anything, there is somebody I know who would be there or point me in the right direction.  I am blessed to be here and so happy to involve myself and my family in the process of building up our city.  I am so excited to see how we will proper and evolveJ How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Our family moved to Ferndale in 2005. Best Ferndale landmark? My favorite landmark in Ferndale is the fountain at Riverwalk Park!  What a joy it is to drive over that bridge and see the water dancingJ Often times with the kiddos of Ferndale splashing and playing.  Parents get to sit and chat while watching their children play and the town pass by. The moving water feels like something alive greeting people as they come to town…a little cheesy but think about it next time you see it crossing the bridge, lol;) What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? I have a number of them!  Art Fairs at Mountain View, camping out at the ball fields for my son Taylor’s baseball tournaments, having the community come out for our Ragnar team (Van-Go!) as we ran through town, Ye Old Fashioned Christmas every year with the kids even when they were too old for Santa…my favorite for myself was helping set up and work with the vendors at the Chamber of Commerce Ferndale Street Festival last year.  It was such a joy to get to know new people, help answer their questions, and make sure their Ferndale experience was the best it could be while contributing to the biggest event Ferndale puts on every year.  I really felt like I was a true member of the communityJ  I am looking forward to another great event this summer! Who should we meet next? I am sure I am not the first person to suggest her but Anya Milton is an incredible woman and I would love to hear more of her story!

This is Ferndale: Cedars Restaurant

The last in our little series highlighting local landmarks, today we are sharing Elise King’s favorite- Cedars in downtown Ferndale. According to the Cedars website, the restaurant has been around since 1909. This spot is a hometown favorite featuring all the comforts diner food offers with friendly staff who treat every customer like a “regular.”

To see menus, hours and more information:

Who visited Cedars over the three-day weekend?

This is Ferndale: The Big Red Barn

A structure lovingly referred to as the “Big Red Barn,” was built in 1911 and still stands today. Beautiful and full of history. When I looked up into the wooden eaves I couldn’t help but think that this building is every bit as magnificent as the churches that grace towns throughout our country.

As we meet our neighbors, we’ll also visit their favorite landmarks whenever possible. The visit to the “Big Red Barn,” was inspired by Anya Milton who said it is her favorite landmark in Ferndale. Thanks, Anya!

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

Meeting My Neighbors: Maralise Fegan

Name: Maralise Fegan

Family Member Names: Brendon Orth-Sheridan, Adrian, Kieran

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” My father once told me I have a strong sense of justice. He was a high school physics teacher and my mother was a social worker in Baltimore, Maryland. I grew up in a multi-cultural family that instilled in me the principles of honesty, equality, and persistence. I moved to Bellingham to attend WWU, where I earned my self-designed BA focused on communication and advocacy from Fairhaven College, a writing intensive, interdisciplinary program. Brendon is also from Maryland and moved to Bellingham when we figured out it was cheaper than continuing to pay our long-distance phone bills. After Brendon and I were married, we decided to stay in Whatcom County to start our family. Adrian and Kieran are fun, smart, and compassionate kids, and are always finding new ways to make us laugh. After several years working as a retail section lead in Bellingham, I decided to go back to school to get my post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies from WCC. I now work as a paralegal and office manager at an immigration law firm. I guess my father was right.

What brought you to Ferndale? Brendon was working for Hardware Sales’ internet division just off Slater road, so when we had the opportunity to move into a home that could better accommodate our two growing boys in Ferndale, we jumped on it.

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? We moved to Ferndale in 2011.

Best Ferndale landmark? Tennant Lake Fragrance Garden (and the boardwalk)

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? Shortly after we moved here, I took Adrian and Kieran to get their first library cards. They each looked through the different card design options to pick just the right one. After making their book selections and checking them out with such enthusiasm and pride, they brought them home and enthusiastically shared them with Brendon. Having an accessible and welcoming library was one of the first (of many) indications that we had made the right choice about making Ferndale our home.

Who should we meet next? Melinda Cool, Amy Nylen, Victor Boulos Jr.