Take Action!

Take Action: How can you help with updating Seattle’s  Tree Protection Ordinance?  

Here’s a handy list of how you can help. Click here for Points to emphasize, or scroll down past the Seattle City Council contact info link.

1) Join the Coalition for a Stronger Tree ordinance. Upcoming meetings will be posted in our newsletters, on TreePAC.org and Friends.UrbanForests.org – come and provide input!

2) Contact the City Council and Mayor directly and urge them to  ENFORCE and UPDATE the existing 2009 Interim Ordinance to protect and enhance Seattle’s trees and urban forest. You can use the Action Needed Now on Draft Tree Protection Ordinance letter as a template, or take those points and add your own input. The number of e-mails sent is important as many Councilmembers tally up how many they get on specific issues every month. They do not get as many phone calls – so calling in and having a conversation with staff or the Mayor or a Councilmember directly is very effective. Be sure to send them a follow-up e-mail, thanking them. 

3) Attend City Council meetings, currently on zoom, and give public comment. The most recent draft of the Tree Protection Ordinance  is the update proposed by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission. This is official Council business that can be commented on at any meeting at which tree protection is an issue. Keep your points clear and short for best emphasis. Comment comment time is limited to 1 to 2 minutes, usually at the beginning of a meeting.

4) Attend district-based City Council zoom meetings. Now that 7 of the 9 City Council members are elected by district, make your voice heard at their district meetings. If you are meeting with a district Councilmember of another area, that’s great too, but make sure to bring along a friend, family member or someone from that Council District to guarantee face time, because those local meetings are intended for area residents first of course.

5) Request a personal meeting (currently on zoom) with a City Council member (or their staff) or the Mayor (or mayoral staff if that’s the only possibility). Be professional and be prepared with facts to communicate your message. .

6) SPREAD THE WORD! Tell your neighbors and other Seattle residents at  local Community Council meetings, neighborhood groups, church groups, social media- the more people know, the more they can provide input and help the effort.

Points to emphasize include:

1) Maintain and strengthen protections for Exceptional Trees – “An exceptional tree is a tree that: 1. Is designated as a heritage tree by the City of Seattle; or 2. Is rare or exceptional by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural/historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of grove of trees “. 

2) Lower the threshold for large exceptional trees to 24 inches diameter at 54 inches high (DBH).

3) Require Tree Removal and Replacement Permits for all trees 6″DBH and larger in all property zones across the city for both developed lots and lots undergoing development.

4) Require all trees 6″ DBH and larger that are removed to be replaced on site or a replacement fee be paid to the city.

5) Base tree replacement costs on the diameter and species of trees. Portland Oregon charges $450/diameter inch for removed trees.

6) Require 2 week posting on line and on site, and yellow ribbons on trees on site, for all Tree Removal and Replacement permit applications and also permits when issued.   

7) Limit removal of significant non-exceptional trees to no more than 2 trees per 3 years on developed property.

8) Maintain the prohibition on cutting down trees greater than 6″ DBH on undeveloped lots.



Additional Reference Material beyond the list linked above:

1) Urban Forestry Commission draft Update of Council’s D7 Draft” 6/14/2019

2) Current Tree Protection Ordinance SMC 25.11 

3) SDCI information on current Tree protection Code