To the Editor: City blindsided neighbors by cutting down trees

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesday morning last week, the City blindsided Ridgecrest and Briarcrest neighbors by cutting down three well-established trees without warning on 15th NE at NE 145th. A fourth tree was saved, for now, thanks to a quickly formed gathering of people who stood in front of it and phone calls to the City Planning Department.

There was no acknowledgment of the year and a half long work of the SE Subarea Citizens' Advisory Committee (mandated by the City) which had submitted its vision for this area to the Planning Commission whose recommendations had recently been submitted to the City Council for review. There had been no mention in all that time by staff or others that there were plans to take down these trees. There was no respect for the fact that this was to be a Gateway into Shoreline and plans were in the making, something they would have found out if there had been a system of prior communication. The trees would have contributed to the beauty and projected a very real sense of our dedication to keeping trees in Shoreline.

It is possible now that this can become a precedent for other large trees in a similar sidewalk relationship or which seem to be getting “in the way” of road work. How ironic that when a tree becomes large and is fulfilling its best functions the most, that's when it gets cut down. We need large trees, we don't need small replacement trees that will take decades to mature.

We can't continue to profess the importance of trees and then allow the trump card to always be played by the Department of Public Works. We are dependent upon trees for the air we breathe, surface water management, and other vital functions too numerous to mention here.

This summer we will have a hot, hard, glaring intersection as a daily experience. I hope that the reason for this travesty will not be forgotten and that processes and new ideas will be incorporated in the future to prevent this from happening again.

Vicki Westberg


Kathleen,  May 17, 2010 at 8:40 PM  

I was shocked when I went through this intersection, such a shame.

Anonymous,  May 17, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

As much as I like nature, I thought it was a nice change of pace to see those trees gone. Both my baby and I are glad to see that they are finally fixing the sidewalks on 15th, so we can have a smoother walk.

NorthCityNan May 18, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

Why the lack of communication? That's the really sad part.

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