Take Action!

Take Action: How can you help with updating Seattle’s  Tree Protection Ordinance?  updated July 2019

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 these 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 Interim Ordinance to protect and enhance Seattle’s tree canopy. 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. And don’t forget that they get a lot of email – but they may not get as many actual phone calls – calling in and having a conversation with staff or possibly even the Councilmember directly may be just as effective and still allows you to send the email, reminding them again to keep an eye out for your followup.

3) Attend City Council meetings in person and comment. As of July 2019 the draft for discussion 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 loss or protection might be an issue. Keep your points clear and short for best emphasis. 

4) Attend district-based City Council “local” meetings as soon and often as possible. Now that a portion of the City Council is elected by district, make your voice heard to your district’s City Councilmember directly at their local meetings in your district. 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) Get a (downtown) office meeting with the Mayor (including staff if that’s the only possibility) or City Council personnel. It’s not necessarily ‘less’ to meet with City Council or Mayoral staff, if the emphasis is kept professional and succinct – remember that Sally Bagshaw’s  staff is on point for much of the Tree Ordinance work.

6) Last but certainly not least, SPREAD THE WORD! Tell your neighbors, other Seattle residents you may serve with on a local Community Council, neighborhood group, church group, social media, if you work in the city, etc. – the more people know, the more 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) Base tree replacement on diameter and species of trees.

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

6) Require 2 week posting and yellow ribbons on trees on site for all Tree Removal and Replacement permit applications.  Include on line public posting of applications and permit approvals. 

7) Limit removal of significant non-exceptional trees to no more than 2 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