What We Do

TreePAC is a membership based political action committee that works for the urban forest. Funds are used to support candidates who support trees; emails are sent to decision makers through the TAKE ACTION function of this website; MASS media is used to raise awareness of the open space and tree canopy issues; meetings are attended, flyers distributed, projects adopted; the rabble raised and feet are held to the fire. The 2014-15 focuses have been the Save Our Substation (SOS) project, the Seattle Comprehensive Plan update, and the Seattle Tree Protection Ordinance.

Crosscut: “Saving Seattle’s trees may mean saving their yards”

We know that, at the most basic level, tree preservation is land preservation. Without a place to grow it doesn’t matter how many trees you intend to plant, how good your tree maintenance is, or how generously your Urban Forest is funded, you will not have sufficient number of trees to do the work we need them to do.

Eric Sigliano, reporter for Crosscut, knows this too. Read his article: Saving Seattle’s trees may mean saving their yards.

SOS FLYER DISTRIBUTED TO SURPLUS SUBSTATIONS IN WEST SEATTLE, BURIEN, SEATAC AND NW SEATTLE.

S.O.S.  Save Our Substations

From being sold to developers. It’s public land.

From ‘clean-up methods’ that endanger trees and vegetation

Seattle City Light wants to sell 35 surplus substations to the highest bidder. They say they can’t give them to Seattle Parks or private greenspace foundations. They say they must sell because of property laws and must clean-up contaminated soil before the fate of the land has been determined. They have cut and cleared the trees and vegetation from 2 of the West Seattle substations, and have routinely done so in the past.  

But must they? 

MUST THEY SELL TO DEVELOPERS?

The SOS Position Paper outlines several ways that the substations could be legally kept as green spaces, for free, by the City. And it lists ways to preserve them as part of the Urban Forest if they are sold. There are 35 substations, but there is  $40 million worth of excess properties that could be repurposed as Tree Banks. We say, ‘Save it, don’t sell it!’ 

MUST THEY EXCAVATE THE SOIL? 

From the New Scientist:

Finding a practical way to clean up contaminated land is tricky. Digging up soil and moving it elsewhere is no longer acceptable, sealing it in a landfill site is now illegal in the US, and heating it in massive kilns to burn off offending pesticides is expensive.

Several innovative clean-up methods (in situ bioremediation) could potentially save all the vegetation and clean-up the soil. Grants are available to use the sites for pilot studies–saving trees, soils, and money. But Seattle City Light wants no part of it, or the public’s input on these clean-up options.

Ask the City Council to Save Our Substations!

Please sign our petition. Or send a direct, prewritten, no hassle email to the City Council by going to TreePAC.org and clicking on TAKE ACTION.  No ecospam will result. For more information go to TreePAC.org, SOS, or call Cass Turnbull 206-783-9093.

 

sos FLYER DISTRIBTED AT STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS

SOS: Save Our Substations

The Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, working with PlantAmnesty and TreePAC, are trying to keep 35 surplus city properties as green spaces rather than selling them for development. Some of them are near you.  Please see back page for northwest addresses and names.

WHAT ARE THE SUBSTATIONS?

The substations are 50-year old, decommissioned electrical facilities about the size of one or two house lots. They are scattered throughout the city, though few remain in south and NE Seattle. No electrical equipment or buildings remain on the sites. Typically they are a concrete pad, surrounded by a tall slatted chain-link fence, surrounded by mature, park-like landscaping. They are practically ready-made pocket parks.

IF THE CITY OWNS THEM, WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE MADE INTO  PARKS?

State law requires that departmental properties be sold rather than given to each other. Neither the Parks Department nor Seattle Public Utilities wants these orphan properties because of budget constraints. And Seattle City Light can’t keep them since they must have a  ‘utility use’ for all its properties. However, we have developed a list of ‘work-arounds’ which may, or may not, be feasible.

WHAT IS BEING DONE?

Because of a sustained effort by the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition the City Council passed a Statement of Legislative Intent. It directs the departments to look at innovative ways the land can be repurposed as green space. Unfortunately is includes provision that the neighborhoods help with the funding.  SGSC thinks we can do better! Why? Because it still doesn’t make sense to ask the public to come up with money to buy land that it already owns, in order to use it for the public good.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

We would like to 1) inventory all the properties 2) use an independent Think Tank– not the City departments–to look at the ways that the land could be kept without requiring neighborhood funding and without Parks having to pay full price. 3) to apply what we’ve learned to preserve some of the other excess properties (there is an  estimated $50,000 million worth) as open space.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you want to keep these properties as any sort of green spaces—native plant garden, community p-patch, community orchard, a green buffer without public access, rain garden, etc—you should do one or more of the following: express your support, contribute ideas, sign the petition, send a prewritten and addressed emails to council using the TreePAC.org Take Action button,  distribute flyers to your neighbors, volunteer to take photos,  sign up to attend hearings when they occur, participate in SOS events, do a plant inventory of a substation,  or  contribute money to the SOS  project.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Mary Fleck of Seattle Green Spaces coalition can be reached by going to www.seattlegreenspacescoalition.org. Cass Turnbull of TreePAC and PlantAmnesty can be reached at cassturnbull@comcast.net  or by calling 206-783-9093. To donate write a check to TreePAC * 906 NW 87th Street Seattle WA 98117.

NORTH END-North Beach Substation 9407 19th Ave. NW:  Loyal Heights Substation 7750 28th Ave. NW;  Ballard Substation 6730 24th Ave. NW ;  Monroe Substation 1405 NW 65thSt.;  Olympic Hill Substation 8032 15th Ave. NW ;  Sunset Substation 3209 NW 65th St;Market Street Substation 2826 NW Market St; Leary Substation 1414 NW Leary St (currentlya car dealership);    Whittier Substation 7605 6th Ave. NW, with difficulty it was sold to Parks;  Phinney Substation, 6109 Phinney Ave. N;   Greenlake Substation 949 N 80th just sold 11-14-14

 

FLYER DESTRIBTED  AT ROY STREET SURPLUS PROPERTY IN SOUTH LAKE UNION

Greetings Good Neighbor,

Sorry to bother you, but I thought you’d like to know about a piece of City owned property near you that is likely to be sold or traded for dense development. I would like to see it turned into a park or open space. There is so much high density housing going in the South Lake Union and East Queen Anne areas, the use of local parks will probably get intense. We need more open space because people are already fighting over use of what we have–should we dedicate it to passive use, for ball fields, playgrounds, or skateboard parks? Not to mention if we add yet more concrete it will mean more urban flooding, hotter temperatures, and fewer birds, butterflies, and salmon. Instead I think we should convert the land into trees which would help make all the development look, well, less immense.

The land is currently being used for parking, outdoor storage, warehouses and offices of the Park Department and Seattle City Light. It is a long skinny property called The Roy Street Shops. It includes all of 800 Aloha Street, and 802 and 804 Roy Street. The existing building even has some historical value. The borders are Aloha, Roy, and 8th Ave North.

If you would like it to be saved as a historical public site and/or greenspace, please email me and say that. I am collecting emails to send the City.

I will not abuse your contact information. Call if you have any questions.

Cass Turnbull. cassturnbull@comcast.net, 206-783-9093