Thursday, August 22, 2019

BLS welcomes Medical Lake, adding yet another Spokane-area community

BLS supports many communities in the
Spokane area and more than 100 statewide.
Three is the magic number today as Medical Lake becomes the third Spokane County city this summer to join BLS.

“We think our businesses will like the streamlined service. Our city license now links easily to hundreds of other state and local licenses. Even better, the service uses the familiar and friendly online portal where businesses already report state taxes,” said Doug Ross, Medical Lake City Administrator.

Businesses on the West Plains of Spokane County serve an international airport, a regional university, a large DSHS campus, and a major Air Force Base, as well as thousands of residents. Now, these West Plains cities -- Airway Heights, Cheney, and Medical Lake – are connected with more than 100 cities that sync up local licensing with state registration and renewal requirements. BLS city partners now stretch across Spokane County from Medical Lake on the West Plains to Liberty Lake at the Idaho state line.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tenino steams ahead with BLS partnership

BLS today welcomes the historic railroad stop of Tenino as its newest local licensing partner. The Thurston County community with about 200 businesses is named for a Coastal Salish phrase for "meeting place."

Citizens and commerce have been meeting in Tenino since the pioneer days. In the late 1800s, Tenino became an important Northern Pacific railroad stop near a sandstone quarry. Tenino sandstone transported by rail provided materials for the masonry on many buildings at the Washington State Capitol.

Tenino's neighbor communities Centralia, Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm are also among BLS's 103 city partners.

All aboard, Tenino!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Oakville joins BLS

The city of Oakville in southeast Grays Harbor County today joins BLS.

It has a population of 200 and about 20 active businesses. It joins regional neighbors Centralia, Chehalis, Tumwater and others in connecting state and local licensing.

Welcome, Oakville.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ATLAS Partner Portal Unavailable Saturday and Sunday

The ATLAS Partner Portal service will not be available Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11, during scheduled maintenance.

The My DOR service not impacted.

~BLS Partnership Services

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Help BLS move in to its new online home

Take part in our usability study.

Business Licensing Service (BLS) information is blending with the Department of Revenue website. It’s important to us that our site is user-friendly for your business customers.

Click the picture to get started with the quick exercise.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Cheney is newest Spokane County BLS partner

Joining its regional neighbors, city of Cheney is today the newest Spokane County to link up to the state Business Licensing Service. Seven communities in that county of half a million Washingtonians are served by BLS.

The city of 11,000 permanent residents is southwest of Spokane and connected by commerce and capital to Inland Northwest communities. Major employment sectors are education -- Cheney is home to Eastern Washington University -- agricultural, and public service, including those working at nearby Fairchild Air Force Base.

Situated along Interstate 90, Cheney is a growing city that hosts more than 12,000 college students annually.

Welcome, Cheney!

Roos Field in Cheney is nationally famous in collegiate football for its signature red turf.
(source: wikimedia commons)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Springdale is the 100th BLS city partner!

Today, the state Business Licensing Service (BLS) adds the Town of Springdale as its 100th local government partner in the state and city combined-licensing process. BLS issues more than 600 different registrations sought by businesses in Washington state.

Springdale, population 300, is northwest of Spokane in Stevens County. It licenses about 30 local businesses. The complete list of BLS partner cities is at

BLS Blast from the Past: One Merchant's Modest Idea

Beryl and Eddie Kuhr, owners of Gull Harbor
Mercantile near Olympia, came up with the
idea of combining licensing processes.
(photo courtesy of Ted Kistler)
Initially called the Master License Service, BLS was created by the Business License Center Act more than 40 years ago.

But the idea for the wildly successful program didn't start in government. It started with a middle-class merchant. 

Since the late 1950s, Eddie and Beryl Kuhr were owners of Gull Harbor Mercantile near Olympia. In the early 1970s, they met Ralph Munro on the governor's staff to ask why businesses had to obtain and renew so many state licenses with different expirations. The seed was sown. Munro, who'd later serve as Secretary of State, advanced the idea and helped launch the program after legislative approval.

The Olympian featured Eddie Kuhr and
his idea in its March 12, 1976, issue.
After an initial phase at Department of Commerce, the program moved to Department of Licensing in 1977 growing to serve 30 regulatory programs at nine state agencies.

The program grew steadily over the decades and began adding local licensing in 1997. The program moved to the Department of Revenue in 2011 and was renamed Business Licensing Service.

BLS added its 50th city partner in 2012. Since then, BLS replaced its computer system to integrate business licensing and state tax reporting services. Now supporting 100 city partners, BLS will extend its services to another 80 cities by 2022. 
The 1981 Master Business License for
Gull Harbor Mercantile