Longtime county resident founded RMC Architects

WHATCOM — Jeff McClure believes his experience as an architect, business owner and job creator makes him uniquely qualified to serve on as a Whatcom County Public Utility District commissioner.

McClure, who is running for reelection, graduated from the University of Washington in 1977 with a bachelor of arts in Environmental Science, moving on to the University of Colorado at Boulder to graduate in 1980 with a Masters of Architecture. He grew up south of Whatcom County and has lived in the county for almost 40 years. Thirty years ago, he established his architecture firm, RMC Architects, in downtown Bellingham.

“As an architect, my firm is involved in numerous complex public and private projects that weave the fabric of our community, including affordable housing, health care, education, historic preservation, parks and public community spaces, sustainable/green design and master planning,” McClure said.

McClure said he has overseen the design and implementation of hundreds of millions of dollars of construction and masterplanning. He said this requires taking big ideas and turning them into reality, on time and on budget.

“Promoting classroom theories is not useful unless someone is able to figure out what works and if it is cost effective,” McClure said. “It also requires an ability to get people with lots of competing ideas to embrace a common strategy. That’s my life as an architect and why I am uniquely qualified for this position.”

Serving on the PUD board has been rewarding, McClure said, and has allowed him to engage on key issues facing Whatcom County. Of these issues, McClure said he prioritizes local jobs, the protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources, all without seeking any property tax money from county citizens.

Moving forward, the biggest issues facing the PUD in the coming years include some major changes. Several senior PUD employees are retiring in the near future, McClure said, and if he isn’t reelected, only one of the three PUD commissioners will have more than two years of experience. He said stability of leadership is crucial to carrying out the initiatives and functions that comprise the PUD.

If he’s elected to the PUD board again, McClure plans to prioritize broadband, which includes opportunities for distance learning, telehealth, public safety and economic development by extending open access fiber optic infrastructure throughout the county, he said. Watershed planning is also essential, along with establishing public-private partnerships related to clean and renewable energy and a strong economy to create jobs.

“The PUD and Port of Bellingham have proposed the development of a 300-acre industrial park at Cherry Point that would be oriented toward clean technologies to usher in a new era of well-paid jobs without leaving our industries and hardworking citizens behind,” McClure said.

In addition to the industrial park, McClure said, the PUD is in discussions with private industry regarding the development of initiatives like large-scale solar power and hydrogen production facilities.

McClure sees water as a key component of the PUD’s business, and he said it’s important to continue to work with large water rights holders such as the city of Bellingham and local tribes.

The PUD is in the third year of its five-year strategic plan related to these and other efforts, and McClure said he helped foster these opportunities and intends to see them through to completion.