Tree Pac Poll Release Comments
By Jessica Dixon
Plant Amnesty Board Member
The 2016 Seattle Tree Canopy Assessment estimated that the total number of trees 30”
in diameter and greater, or what the city defines as exceptional trees at just over 6,000
trees remaining in the city. These are the trees that do the heavy lifting when it comes
to carbon sequestration, intercepting stormwater and mitigating the heat island effect.
Incredibly, 5 years later, Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) is
just beginning to track the steady loss of these trees due to development. It is clear
that the prevailing approach to building on a site in Seattle continues; developers
ignore the existing trees as they develop their building plans and then scrape the site of
all the trees and understory as they build. Unlike many cities, including Portland,
Seattle, does not require tree removal permits or fee-in lieu payment for trees removed!
The latest proposal for the Talaris property, where in order to shoe horn 55 Single
Family lots onto this site by removing 155 exceptional trees, is business as usual!
The imperative of responding to climate change makes it clear that we cannot afford to
continue business as usual. We cannot afford to loose any more of our exceptional
trees, and we are here today to make the point that people in Seattle overwhelmingly
support stronger protections for our mature trees and our urban forest. We need
our city leaders to advance urban planning, public investment and city codes that allow
for and encourage more creative housing solutions and that plan for and protect our
vital urban forest.