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Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Finds a Permanent Place for Peace With Help From Peoples Bank and Area Organizations

March 4, 2019

By Jessica Hamilton for Whatcom Talk | Whatcom Talk

Peoples Bank’s Adam Lervik is a WDRC Board member and helped the WDRC secure their new location.

About a year and a half ago, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center (WDRC) was working at maximum capacity. The nonprofit, located on downtown Bellingham’s Prospect Street for the past 10 years, was beginning to feel a little squeezed in their 4,000-square-foot space. “There is a lot of demand for our services,” says Executive Director Moonwater. “We were bursting at the seams.”

The WDRC works to teach people how to work out disputes and conflict in constructive and collaborative ways, which is more needed than ever in Whatcom’s rapidly changing communities. Among its many services, the WDRC offers conflict resolution classes in elementary, middle and high schools across the county, in-house workshops, and assistance with divorce, small claims, and other disputes.

The organization is run by a small staff and a team of volunteers who mediate disputes and teach healthy communication skills. Their goal is to build a community in which people approach conflict in creative and healthy ways.

As the WDRC Board of Directors and staff began to think about how they could expand their capacity, the news landed: their current location wasn’t planning to renew their lease. They were given a year and a half to find a new space. “That coincided with the lowest vacancy rates for commercial and residential property in Bellingham’s history,” says Moonwater.

Adam Lervik, a commercial banking officer at Peoples Bank, volunteers his time and expertise as a Board member of the WDRC. Lervik used his experience at the bank to help the WDRC evaluate property options. Read more...