Protest to save local trees set for Friday

My Ballard reader Hannah emailed in to let the community know about a protest that is set for this Friday, February 12, to save a group of mature cherry trees in Loyal Heights from removal by Seattle City Light.

According to Hannah, last week Seattle City Light posted survey markers and signs for a 10-day public comment period before it intends to cut down the group of mature cherry trees at the unused Loyal Heights Substation at 7750 28th Ave NW.

“This is a site that neighbors are hoping to turn into a park, P-patch or public space,” writes Hannah. It is, as Hannah also mentioned, one of the sites highlighted in our December report about potential locations for restoration in the neighborhood.

Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, TreePAC, Keep Ballard Trees Standing and other groups are coming together to protest the tree removal. Check out the post on Seattle Green Spaces Coalition’s website below:

The city intends to cut down three large and exceptional ornamental cherry trees (among others) at the Seattle City Light’s surplus property (the former Loyal Heights Substation) before a decision regarding the destiny of this land has even been made! (It has not yet been determined if the property will be kept as a pocket park or sold to private developers.)

Protesters are demanding that the area be secured with construction fencing, and the trees kept until the final use of the property has been determined. They are also calling for an independent environmental contractor to assess soil remediation options and the overall impacts to the adjoining neighbors.

Seattle City Light has consistently sidestepped public process (as they did with the Market Street site last summer). It’s not just about the trees. The pattern of disregard for community process is fueling citizen anger.

If not for vigilant neighbors the trees could have been cut with only 10-day public comment notice (posted on 2/2/16).
The healthy trees would be protected as exceptional if they were on private, not public property. Notice claims they will be unstable after mitigation for contaminated soil (pesticides). This is misleading. They want to remove them before cleanup; but they there are methods that have been used successfully by SCL on other sites (soil vacuuming) in West Seattle.

The rally is being held on the first day that crews could come to cut the trees,” writes Hannah.

Members of the public are invited to comment through Thursday on the issue. Click here to find contact details.

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