TreePAC Annual Report and Historic Review – 2015-2016
Last year at the Annual Gathering we chose three TreePAC priorities to pursue. They were:
- Change the wording in the proposed Parks Element of the Comprehensive Plan
- Adopt a tree preservation ordinance or start the process of creating one, and
- Save Myers Parcels from being sold for development.
Change Wording in the proposed Parks Element of the Comprehensive Plan (No New Parks)—Done (for now)
TreePAC lobbied the city to keep the previous Comprehensive Plan original wording that had the quantitative goals and metrics for Parks, to wit: “provide 1 acre of open space per 100 residents.” This language had been watered down to “an acceptable goal of 1/3 acre of open space per 100 residents and an Urban Village goal of providing 1 acre per 1,000 residents. The proposed new Comprehensive Plan wording, due to be adopted this fall, sought to further reduce or remove these acquisition goals and metrics in favor of more ‘reasonable goals’ of more uses and more access to existing parks. Since our lobby work began in 2015, the city dropped the new language. However, it may yet be included in next year’s update to the Seattle Parks Plan, and watching that is on our 2017 to-do list.
Tree Preservation Ordinance—Not Done
Interest in the topic has been raised by at least one recent news article: Is Seattle Doing Enough to Protect Its Tree Canopy, Seattle Weekly July 27, 2016. Adiel Kaplan
Save Myers Parcels—Done
In November 2015, Seattle’s Mayor announced his plan to sell a 32-acre piece of surplus city-owned land, known as Myers Parcels, which is comprised of steep wooded slopes, wetlands, and open fields and is located on the southwestern border of Seattle. The most likely future land use would be warehousing.
Working with Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, TreePAC rallied local residents, as well as environmentally minded individuals and groups city-wide. Over 1,000 people signed petitions, 890 sent emails, and ten organizations wrote letters of support. Articles appeared in the Seattle Weekly and Crosscut. By June 2016, the Mayor announced that the majority of land would be kept as green space pending input from neighboring communities.
Other Activities 2016
TreePAC co-organized and attended a tree removal protest at a city-owned surplus property in Ballard. Unfortunately, the city cut the trees down before protesters arrived with placards, chains, and locks. The event was covered on the TV news and in print media.
TreePAC generated or was sourced in many articles and television news stories, including: Ballard News Tribune, Outside City Hall, Crosscut, The Seattle Weekly, and The Seattle Times, as well as on KING, KIRO, and KOMO evening news. Topics included: the no new parks issue, awareness of density impacts on tree canopy coverage, lack of tree protections and the Myers Parcels story.
Meet the Council
TreePAC representatives met privately five times with City Councilors and/or their legislative aides
Attend Public Hearings
TreePAC attended and gave comment at five Public Hearings.
No Place for Old Trees
A PowerPoint Presentation and a video related to No Place for Old Trees was created, shown, and posted. The PowerPoint in one form or another was given to council member, non-profit organizations, planners, and the late, great District Councils. Find No Place for Old Trees by going to YouTube> PlantAmnesty>Play Lists> No Place for Old Trees
TreePAC member Cass Turnbull wrote three No Place for Old Trees articles that were published in the PlantAmnesty newsletter and on the TreePAC website under What We Do/Rants Published.
Highlights from the Past 2013-2015
Street Tree Ordinance
TreePAC successfully lobbied to pass the street tree ordinance (different from the Tree Preservation Ordinance).
Canopy Coverage Goals
TreePAC lobbied the city, partially successfully, to retain the 40% tree-canopy-coverage goal in the Comprehensive Plan.
Surplus Green Spaces Sales (SOS).
TreePAC, in conjunction with Seattle Green Spaces Coalition:
- Lobbied to retain city-owned surplus properties for greenspace.
- Halted the dig and dump method of dealing with contaminated soil at surplus substations (which kills all the trees and vegetation). Some trees were saved by using the airspade method for soil removal. Others properties were remediated with dig and dump. None were used to test bioremediation methods, as was recommended earlier.
- Stopped the imminent sale of surplus substations (green spaces) to developers. The majority of the 35 substations have been put on hold for two+ years. One substation has been repurposed as green space. Two substations have been sold. The city is looking at supporting the creation of Seattle Land Trust and/or other ways to buy these properties for green space. Also we await the incorporation of Natural Asset Accounting by the city. All these projects have been initiated and are co-sponsored by Seattle Green Spaces Coalition.
Media to Raise Awareness
The media has covered the substation issue, illegal tree removals, and the Candidates Forum.
The Seattle Council Candidates’ Forum for Urban Forestry for City Council Candidates on was organized and hosted by TreePAC, PlantAmnesty, and others.
TreePAC Green Agenda
TreePAC created and posted its Green Agenda.
TreePAC made donations to candidates’ campaigns.
2016 Media List
As Development Booms Seattle Gives Up on Green Space – Weekly
Is Seattle Doing Enough to Protect its Tree Canopy – Weekly
Birds, Bees and Communities of Color – from Outside the City
Seattle Needs Parks, not Just Parklets – Crosscut
No Room for Trees in Seattle’s New Parks – Times
As City Booms Leafy Giants At Risk – Times
Citizens Step in Front of Chainsaws to Stop Tree Removal
Seattle May Sell This Park-like Land to Help Fight Homelessness – KUOW
Should Seattle Sell Rare Open Space? – Crosscut
Mayor’s Response to Homelessness Still Tied To Selling Public Land – CC
Seattle Won’t Sell Off the Largest Remaining Potential Park Space – West Seattle Blog
Acre of Public Trees in West Seattle Cut Down – Times
What We Did In 2015
IN THE NEWS
- SEATTLE TIMES – As City booms, leafy giants at risk
- CROSSCUT- Saving Seattle’s trees may mean saving their yards
- KING 5 TV NEWS – Urban green space forum draws Seattle City council hopefuls
- WEST SEATTLE BLOG – 32 acres of land on Myers Way
- STATEMENT OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT TO CREATE SEATTLE LAND TRUST, support for
- GREENSHEET TO FUND INCORPORATE NATURAL CAPITAL ACCOUNTING INTO CITY PLANNING AND REPORTING, support for
PUBLICATIONS, POSTS, POWERPOINTS, RANTS
- GREEN AGENDA
- NO PLACE FOR OLD TREES I (Seattle history, comparisons and comprehensive plan goal changes)
- NO PLACE FOR OLD TREES II (Tree retention v. new green infrastructure technologies)
- PHOTO ESSAY: MOUNTAIN BIKING IN NATURAL AREAS (removed under threat of lawsuit)
- PHOTO ESSAY: NATURALIST’S REPORT ON MYERS PARCELS
- NO PLACE FOR OLD TREES POWER POINT
OPEN LETTERS sent
TAKE ACTION PREWRITTEN E-MAILS AND PETITIONS
- PRESERVE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN QUANTITATIVE METRICS
- RETAIN SURPLUS CITY PROPERTY FOR OPEN SPACE
- RETAIN 40% CANOPY GOAL IN COMPREHENSIVE PLAN (DONE)
- RETAIN SISLEY PROPERITES AS LOCAL PARK (DONE)
FLYERS POSTED AND DISTRIBUTED
READ IT AND WEEP on the TreePAC.org website
- FIFTEEN incident reports added
What We Did 2013-14
CANDIDATES–This last year sent questionnaires to the City of Seattle election candidates. We posted their answers and made our endorsements on the TreePAC website. We made our first set of donations to candidates in Seattle, Bellevue and Washington State.
LETTERS–Through the TAKE ACTION function, 312 emails were sent to Seattle City Council and 22 to King County Council.
WEBSITE- We updated the TreePAC website and moved the TAKE ACTION easy-email-writer button from PlantAmnesty to TreePAC.
REPRESENTATION—TreePACers attended meetings with the Urban Forest Commission, the West Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, FOSUF (Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest), Groundswell Northwest, Seattle City Light, the City Council Seattle Energy Committee, and the King Conservation District.
PROJECTS—1) TreePAC voted to engage in the SOS (Save Our Substations) project. The project’s purpose is to preserve 35 vacant, Seattle City Light surplus substation properties as open space, rather than selling them to developers. Councilmember Rasmussen sponsored a statement of legislative intent, SLI, to create an opportunity fund to buy surplus properties for open space. 2) TreePAC is currently working with FOSUF to create a model Seattle Tree Ordinance and update Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan to include a strong Urban Forestry Component. 3) TreePAC helped raise awareness of the issues by being interviewed in the front page article in the Seattle Times on the topic of Urban Forestry. We raised awareness of the issues through news items in The Ballard News Tribune, KUOW radio, KIRO evening news, and the Seattle Journal of Commerce.
GRANTS AND FUNDRAISING —Through our sister organization, PlantAmnesty, grants were submitted to Groundswell Northwest (Save Our Substation, $500, approved), to King Conservation District (Urban Forestry Game Changers, $19,000 denied), to the Dan Evans School of Public Policy (denied) to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (pending) Estella Leopold added her name and endorsement to the TreePAC by hosting an elegant get-together at her home in Ravenna. Political mover/shakers, legislators, friends, and well-known philanthropists were seen and heard.