Bastyr could represent turning point for Everett

In the not too distant future, some city will be searching for a way to wisely use a piece of critical riverfront property, or bring positive businesses to its doorstep, or improve the health of its residents.

Chances are, Everett will be the city it looks to as its model for all three.

News that Bastyr University is in talks with the city about a possible branch campus in Everett should be enough to improve anyone’s health. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to dream up a better match for the old Simpson lumber mill site along the precious riverfront. Neighbors, local health professionals, business people and the Tulalip Tribes all seem to agree. Bastyr can’t get here soon enough.

The renowned university would be more than just an excellent tenant for the site. Its arrival would signal the start of a legacy that marks Everett and the surrounding area as a health and wellness region. Snohomish County is already blessed with health-care organizations working hard to help people. Bastyr completes that picture by allowing Western and natural medicine to work together to offer us the best health options available. Finally, Everett isn’t playing catch-up. It’s pioneering the healthy community in a way that will allow us to live better lives and show others how to do the same.

The legacy doesn’t belong to just Everett. This possibility is the product of the initiative and hard work of Lanie McMullin, an executive director with the city. Bastyr officials didn’t exactly come knocking on our door. McMullin cold-called them and pursued the relationship to the point it’s at right now.

This riverfront property is poised to become a focal point of health and wellness research. But the benefits spread beyond the property and even city limits. Already, Bastyr officials are working with Everett Community College officials to establish and link courses. And they’re working with local medical professionals and the Tulalip Tribes to combine approaches to medicine and address specific nutrition and health issues.

The partnership possibilities for business and agriculture come at the perfect time as the city and county look for ways to bring more businesses here and make the best use of agricultural land. It’s a dream come true for everyone from a business person to an environmental activist.

Some of the hurdles have already been cleared, but the city and community still face the challenge of making it happen financially. That could mean state help – in a way that allows the project to pay for itself. State support to make this worthwhile project a reality should be a no-brainer. And Bastyr deserves the warm welcome it’s receiving from community.

“We’re trying to create a model community of wellness,” McMullin said. “Help us.”

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