Kelli Linville, a fourth-generation Whatcom County resident, small business owner, educator and former state legislator with more than four decades of community service, became the Mayor of Bellingham on January 1, 2012. She was elected to a second term in November 2015.
Mayor Linville is the City of Bellingham’s first woman mayor. She brings to her position a great passion for community service and excellence in government and decades of experience as a public servant.
A lifetime of experience in our community
Mayor Linville was born and raised in Bellingham. She is a 1966 graduate of Bellingham High School and holds bachelor’s (1974) and master’s (1981) degrees in speech-language pathology from Western Washington University. She worked for 16 years as a speech pathologist in the Bellingham Public Schools and was active in the Bellingham Education Association, including serving as the organization’s president in 1989.
She was elected in 1992 to represent the 42nd District in the Washington State House of Representatives, serving 1993-1994. She lost her bid for re-election, only to be appointed to fill a vacant seat in 1995. She won seven successive re-election bids for her 42nd District seat, serving through December 2010, for a total legislative service of 17 years.
Relationships, respect and results
Mayor Linville is well-known locally and statewide for her fair, independent voice and highly effective leadership, with her skills, influence, and strong relationships resulting in successful legislation and policy at the state and local level in many key areas, including economic development and job creation, government accountability, social justice, and funding for important community projects.
As Mayor of Bellingham, she has prioritized ensuring public health and safety, balancing the City budget, supporting local business, protecting environmental resources, and preserving neighborhood character.
Mayor Kelli also aims to enrich the quality of our community development through maintaining our roads and infrastructure, encouraging housing affordability, and aiding in job creation.
While in the legislature, she chaired the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the primary fiscal committee for the House of Representatives. Throughout her legislative career she consistently “reached across the aisle” to solve problems, working across party lines for the good of the greater community.
She counts among her mayoral achievements:
- Waterfront collaboration with Port of Bellingham including environmental cleanup, bringing new skilled trade jobs to the Watefront, upgraded marine trade infrastructure, renewable energy systems, Waypoint park, and opening the historic Granary building.
- Beginning site development on Cordata Neighborhood Park.
- Securing 65 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain as a public recreation site in collaboration with Whatcom Land Trust and Galbraith Tree Farm LLC Galbraith.
- Renewing the Greenways Program to raise funds for park and open space land acquisition and trail projects.
- Protecting Lake Whatcom as a source of clean drinking water and site for public enjoyment.
- Developing a biennial budget that allows city government to have a more consistent and predictable approach to providing community services.
- Developing a downtown retail strategy to support independent vendors and boost the local economy.
- Adopting the 2018 Bellingham Housing Levy to produce and preserve affordable housing to assist low-income tenants and those experiencing homelessness.
In addition to decades of serving her community in various roles, Mayor Linville is the co-owner of several small businesses. She has a life-long interest in mid-century design and is a long-time collector of 1950s furniture and art. She is married to Will Roehl, is the mother of two adult sons and is grandmother to two granddaughters.
Affiliations (partial list)
- Small Business Development Center Advisory Board
- Sustainable Connections Advisory Board
- Whatcom Conservation District
- Health Support Center Board - Past President
- Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce
- Rome Grange
- Mt. Baker Theatre Board
- Bellingham Planning Commission
- League of Women Voters
- Rainbow Center Advisory Board
- Nooksack Recovery Team
- American Association of University Women
- Whatcom Family YMCA Board
- Brigid Collins House Board
- Evergreen AIDS Foundation Board
- City Club of Bellingham
- Washington Women for Commercial Fishing
- The ARC Board
- Rotary Club of Bellingham
- St. Luke’s Foundation Board
Recent Awards (partial list)
- 2014 Peace Builder Award with County Executive Jack Louws from the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center
- 2010 Outstanding Elected Official Award from the Washington State Bar Association
- 2010 Legislator of the Year Award from the Northwest Regional Council
- 2009 Whatcom County Peace Builder Award from the Whatcom County Peace Builders
- 2009 Legislator of the Year Award from the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs
- 2009 Gene Cotton Award from the Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs
- 2009 Poverty Action Legislative Leadership Award from the state-wide Poverty Action Network
- 2008 Friend of Manufacturing Award from the Washington Manufacturing Service
- 2008 Champion of Justice Award from the Alliance for Equal Justice
- 2008 Outstanding Legislator Award from the Northwest Senior Services Board