Lisa Herbold for Seattle City Council District 1 – 2019 Questionnaire

  1. SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL ORDINANCE RESOLUTION 31870 As part of the MHA Ordinance passage in March 2019 the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31870. Section 6 of that Resolution called for updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance. Do you support that provision?

 Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: The language int Resolution 31870 was an important policy commitment.  I appreciate advocates resolving to hold the Council accountable to the commitments in that resolution an I pledge my common cause with advocates to do the same should I be re-elected.

  1. SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL RESOLUTION 31902 The Seattle City Council on Sept. 16, 2019 passed  Resolution  31902  declaring the City Council’s and the Mayor’s intent to consider strategies to protect trees and increase Seattle’s tree canopy cover.”  The resolution calls for the city  to update Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance in 2020 . Do you support this resolution for updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment:  I do support this resolution; however it does not go far enough, we need more immediate action from the City.

  1. PERMITS FOR TREE REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT Seattle’s current Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11 is a complaint-based system for developed property. It is not working according to the 2017  Tree Regulations Research Project Report done by DCI and OSE. The report states that Exceptional trees and groves were being lost.  Trees were being removed from Environmental Critical Areas. Large conifers were being replaced with deciduous and dwarf species.  Do you support updating the ordinance to require permits to remove and replace trees, like SDOT does for street trees and like Portland, Lake Forest Park and other cities do for all trees removed?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, I support a much stronger permitting and replacement provision. Additionally, I would like to see: 1. a maximum limit to the number of trees that can be removed from a property in a year (as opposed to using canopy percentage as the measurement), 2.  protections for groves of trees, and 3. better approaches to addressing enforcement challenges.


The Seattle Department of Transportation requires the posting on site of all tree removal and replacement permit applications for two weeks prior to trees removed. Do you support requiring Tree Removal and Replacement Permit Applications being  posted on site and on-line?

Yes  X            No_____

Do you support a Tree Removal and Replacement Permit being posted on site for a week after the tree is removed so that neighbors know it was taken down legally?

Yes X             No_____

Optional Comments:  Public notice is important before removal for enforcement that can lead to preservation but also after tree removal.  Notice both allows us to hold violators accountable and it also provides policymakers and advocates with valuable information to improve public policy.


REPLACEMENT OF TREES CUT DOWN – Many other cities require that trees removed, whether on developed property or property being developed, must be replaced. All trees 6” DBH and larger are currently required to be on development site plans. In the single-family zone, trees 6 inches DBH and larger represent about 48 % of the trees.  Do you support requiring tree replacement when trees larger than 6 inches DBH are removed?

Yes X             No_____

Optional Comments We must balance the need for tree replacement with ensuring that the CIty is not found to be engaged in an unlawful properties takings in our efforts to preserve tre canopy.  A tree replacement policy is a good way to strike that balance in the favor of the clear public good.

FEE-IN-LIEU OF REPLACEMENT – Portland, OR and other cities allow for a fee to be paid to replace trees elsewhere if they cannot be replaced on the property where they were cut down. Seattle is considering an option to allow a fee in lieu to be paid to plant a new tree elsewhere and maintain it for 5 years. Replacement of trees in other areas can be sited based on race and social justice considerations. Do you support this option?

Yes X             No_____

Optional Comments: I especially support the replacement trees being sited based on race and social justice considerations as there are many neighborhoods (South Park in my district) that have historically suffered from poor environmental conditions and have low tree canopy as compared to other neighborhoods.


EXCEPTIONAL TREES are defined as “a tree or group of trees that because of its unique historical, ecological, or aesthetic value constitutes an important community resource”, including large trees, heritage trees and tree groves. They are protected by the current ordinance. Do you support continuing the protection of exceptional trees?

Yes X             No_____

Optional Comments: I support strengthening our projections for exceptions trees and closing the loopholes in our current laws that allow for people to cut down an exceptional tree.

LOWER LARGE TREE EXCEPTIONAL THRESHOLD The Urban Forestry Commission has recommended that the upper limit to declare a large tree exceptional be lowered from 30 inches diameter at breast height (DBH) to 24 inches DBH to save more large trees. Do you support this protection of more large trees?

Yes X             No_____

Optional Comments  We must do what is necessary to preserve truly exceptional trees.  I am concerned that whatever the DBH, people will cut trees – if we don’t have adequate regulations – at whatever DBH is directly below the minimum.

  1. DATABASE TRACKING OF TREE REMOVALS The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission has repeatedly recommended that the city use its database system to track all tree loss and replacement, both on developed property and property being developed. Such data will help the city monitor the changes occurring in the urban forest over time. This data would be collected through Tree Removal and Replacement Permits being entered into one system for both trees removed during development and trees removed on developed property. This data will help guide the City’s Urban Forest Management Plans. Do you support the implementation of the database program as directed by Mayor Burgess’s  Executive Order 2017-11 Tree Protection?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment:  GIven that data limitations have been identified as a barrier to enforcement of current requirements; use of this data is imperative for successful implementation of any new policy.

  1. ARBORIST REGISTRATION The Seattle Department of Transportation currently requires registration and certification for Tree Care Providers, like arborists, to help ensure they understand and comply with Seattle’s Tree Code and Regulations. Do you support requiring all Tree Care Providers working in Seattle to be registered and certified by the city as Portland already does?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: This is a critical provision to include for enforcement purposes.

  1. INVASIVE PLANT CONTROL Removal of invasive vegetation in our city parks has been a long and expensive project for the city under the Green Seattle Partnership. To protect this investment, it is important that invasive species like English ivy and holly trees not get re-introduced from plants in other parts of the city. Would you support all building project landscape plans requiring the removal of all invasive plant species on the property?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: This requirement is reasonable and achievable and likely to have significant outcomes in our efforts to control invasive species.  Let’s do this!

  1. CITY AUDITOR REVIEW OF COMPLIANCE SMC 25.11.090 currently says “Each exceptional tree and tree over two (2) feet in diameter that is removed in association with development in all zones shall be replaced by one or more new trees, the size and species of which shall be determined by the Director; the tree replacement required shall be designed to result, upon maturity, in a canopy cover that is at least equal to the canopy cover prior to tree removal. Preference shall be given to on-site replacement. When on-site replacement cannot be achieved, or is not appropriate as determined by the Director, preference for off-site replacement shall be on public property.”

This provision, in the Tree Protection Ordinance since 2001, has apparently not been enforced by DCI or its predecessors with any consistency. No funds appear to have been collected by the City to plant off site trees nor does there appear to have been any cumulative record kept of trees removed or total trees replaced either on site or off site to meet the requirements of this provision. Would you support a review by the Seattle City Auditor of the city’s compliance with SMC 25.11.090?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, I support a review by the City Auditor, and if necessary, a retroactive collection of unpaid, owed funds.

  1. URBAN FORESTRY COMMISSION INVOLVEMENT – The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission at the request Of Councilmembers Bagshaw and Herbold submitted to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan a draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance. The draft started with the last draft by the Seattle City Council staff requested by Councilmember Rob Johnson. It addresses all the issues in the recent City Council resolutions. It represents ten years of positions established by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission regarding efforts to update the existing Tree Protection Ordinance.  Many of the issues in that draft are topics in questions above.

The City Council passed  Ordinance 123052 in August 2009 establishing the Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) “to advise the Mayor and City Council concerning the establishment of policy and regulations governing the protection, management, and conservation of trees and vegetation in the City of Seattle.” One of the responsibilities of the Urban Forestry Commission in that legislation is “To provide recommendations on legislation concerning urban forestry management, sustainability and protection of associated trees and understory vegetation and related habitat on public or private property prior to its introduction and referral to any Council committee”  Will you agree to continue to work with the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in producing the final update to the Tree Protection Ordinance?

Yes X             No _____

Optional Comment: Yes, I have and will continue to work with the UFC to update the tree protection ordinance.  I will support work beginning from the draft UFC legislation as a starting point for the next Council.

  1. Some people believe there is a conflict between preserving and planting trees in Seattle and building more housing, particularly affordable and low – income housing. What measures or proposals do you think we could put in place to have more affordable and low-income housing as well as achieve our urban forest and tree canopy goals to keep Seattle a healthy and vibrant city for all?

Comment: I do not believe this is a conflict, and that the choice between our environment and affordable housing is a false choice. However, I would support including in our affordable housing contract provisions to preserve and plant more trees, even if that means allocating general fund dollars to ensure more trees are preserved or planted.

  1. Do you have a story or experience regarding trees that you could share with us?

Comment: I have a lot of personal tree stories!  I have the tree climbing story of 11 year old Lisa in the back 40 acres of our Adirondack land.  That summer, I climbed – every day – to the tippy-top of the tallest evergreen in the clearing and was able to predict the weather (or so I thought)!  In high school, I made a book with a birch bark cover – red birch, golden birch, white birch.  My family, off the grid, heated our home with wood in the midst of 30 degree below zero weather.  I was raised with a profound respect for the trees on our land.  We had to steward them, not use them up.  41 years later, my mother still lives on this land, off the grid (without oil/gas/electric heat) and still stewards the trees that keep her warm in the winter.  We have more mature trees then we did when we moved there.

       Fast forward 41 years…more recently, while out doorknocking and conversing with constituents in District 1 during hot days in the summer, the shade provided by the trees in the neighborhoods throughout District 1 is a welcome respite from the heat and direct sunlight.

       Finally, I like that my nickname as it relates to trees is the Lorax Councilmember because of the work I did ensuring that people who cut trees down in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt were held accountable for violating city law.