Thursday, November 13, 2008


Here is the link for you to send a comment, by the end of the workday TODAY, Thursday Nov. 13th, on Permit # 3009549 for Ingraham HS. You can also use this web address:
Your comments TODAY can help save the significant forest grove at Ingraham High School and help us pass a state law to save significant urban forest groves.

The City is also holding a public meeting at 6:30 PM on Tuesday November 18th at Ingraham (1819 N 135th) to take comments.

The groves of trees at Ingraham HS and the Campfire Girls property (Waldo Woods) on 15th NE as examples of how we need local activism to save urban tree groves and to use those lessons to pass state legislation for that important goal. The message below includes a request for your help from Save the Trees. Please take a few minutes to send a comment by Thursday the 13th via the link attached (real easy!) or two hours at the public hearing on Tuesday Nov 18th at Ingraham HS at 6:30 PM.

Saving trees in Seattle is critical for our urban habitat, cleaning up Puget Sound (by reducing stormwater runoff and pollution), reducing carbon and greenhouse gas pollutants, providing children and families with environmental education and recreation.

"We need your help. The Seattle School District has re-filed their construction permit with the City of Seattle to build their addition to Ingraham High School in the same location as before - in the grove of old trees on the West side of the school. In August, after encountering strong citizen support for saving the endangered grove of 75 year old 100 foot tall Douglas fir, western red cedar and Pacific madrone trees, the Seattle School District withdrew their permits in an attempt to cut down 68 trees in the grove without environmental review by the City of Seattle.

A court order obtained by Save the Trees - Seattle temporarily stopped the clear cutting of the trees. Despite neighbor's urging to build elsewhere on the Ingraham campus, like the North Lawn area where no large trees would have to be cut, the Seattle School District is ignoring public concern and going ahead just as before to cut the trees.
You have an opportunity to help save the trees by adding your voice to that of others speaking against cutting the trees. The construction permits including the destruction of what is a neighborhood de facto park area at Ingraham High School is being reviewed by Department of Planning and Development (DPD) for the City.

There is an official page on the DPD website where you can easily enter some comments. Even a few sentences from you will help expand the overall public record in support of saving the trees at Ingraham from the chainsaw. We can have both trees and education at Ingraham because alternative sites like the North Lawn area allow the addition to be built without needlessly sacrificing our urban green habitat."

Here are some other important points, which I suggest you can incorporate:

· The City's Comprehensive Plan sets a goal of no net loss of urban forest and the City's Urban Forest Management Plan sets a goal of 30% tree canopy for public properties.

· The 70 trees proposed to be cut include over a dozen madronas, which are greatly declining and are supposed to be protected when possible.

· The School District's estimates of tree height and age in their prior environmental review were found to be far off from reality. The grove includes trees over 100 feet high and approximately 75 years old. (The District said the trees were only 75 feet high. How does a school district which teaches "everyday math" fail to calculate the height of trees by 33%?).

· The plan calls for significant parking lot expansions where neighborhood advocates propose the school building additions could go.

· 100 new trees planted at Ingraham in 2000 and 2001 as mitigation for other work all died - that reality shows the need to preserve existing healthy groves, and not count proposed replacement trees in calculating whether the project will meet tree canopy goals years from now.

· Mature trees remove 60-70x more pollution and have a tremendous impact on reducing our stormwater runoff problems (which includes carrying pollution from streets into Puget Sound). This is vital for the City to consider as a significant environmental impact (instead of pretending that new plantings are equal), and for our state laws to be changed for mandating protection of mature urban tree groves in order to protect Puget Sound.

Let's also not forget that we need a state law requiring that all cities designate significant urban groves and protect them. Write our legislators urging them to take the lead on legislation amending our Growth Management Act and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Ask them to make changes to require that cities protect urban tree groves to reduce global warming impacts, reduce pollution runoff and protect urban habitat. You can reach them at:

For more info on the Ingraham trees, go to Steve Zemke's blog or


Steve Zemke said...

Thanks for the post. Comments will continue to be accepted through Tues., Nov 18th according to DPD. So it's not too late to let the city know you don't think trees need to be sacrificed in Seattle, especially when alternatives exist.

Since 1973 the tree canopy in Seattle has decreased from 40% to 18% according to the city. Yet we have a weak tree ordinace that allows development to take priority over preserving and protecting our decreasing green habitat in Seattle.

Please send your comments to DPD. They need to hear from you.

Also communicate to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Nickels that we need stronger tree protection legislation in Seattle to protect existing trees. They are in the process of strengthening the existing tree ordinace laws early next year, including protecting groves of trees like at Ingraham High School..

Steve Zemke said...

The city expects to decide mid-December the fate of the trees at Ingraham High School. You can continue to send comments into DPD to be part of the record.

You can also send comments to Mayor Nickels urging that the trees be saved. The DPD is a city department that acts under his direction.