Seattle Public School Violates Court Injunction!

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

On Monday Judge Erlick of the King County Superior Court ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs Save the Trees – Seattle and put in place an Injunction to prevent the Seattle School District from cutting the trees or destroying the habitat in the grove of trees on the West side of Ingraham High School. This afternoon, a contractor for the Seattle School District drove into the center of the grove and commenced putting up another fence in the proposed construction area. Using an air hammer the contractor started driving steel posts into the ground.

This action was in direct violation of Judge Erlick’s ruling that the trees and habitat were to be preserved and protected while the Seattle School District resubmitted its construction permit application to the City of Seattle. Steve Zemke of Save the Trees – Seattle called the police and contacted their attorney, Keith Scully, of Gendler and Mann, who contacted Ron English, Attorney for the Seattle School District who contacted MidMountain Contractors who called their employee to stop any further work.

The truck was driven out of the grove a short while later. The call to the police was cancelled as they had not yet shown up. Tree Solutions and other consultants have advised the Seattle School District to keep trucks out of the trees because they damage the tree roots and affect the survivability of the trees. The Seattle School District continues to ignore this advice and the court order prohibiting damage to the tree grove until the environmental review process is completed.

Why was the Seattle School District not able to obey the court order and inform all contractors of the Injunction prohibiting any activities which would harm or destroy the trees or the habitat of the groove? The Project manager at Ingraham is John McWilliams and he should be held responsible along with Don Gilmore who is in charge of the BEX program.

John McWilliams and Don Gilmore were both present in Judge Erlick’s courtroom on Monday when Judge Erlick ruled. Did they not understand what the Judge said? As Project Manager for the Ingraham Project isn’t McWilliams responsible for what the contractors do? Or is this just going to be called another one of those “mistakes” or “miscommunications” and brushed aside?

Contactors working at Denny Sealth in West Seattle recently cut down trees and bulldozed an area along Longfellow Creek on the Sealth campus at the same time an appeal was underway before a Seattle School District Hearing Examiner. This action destroying that habitat made that part of the appeal mute and resulted in the Hearing Examiner saying the School District needed to up the loss of trees there from 25 to 35 to reflect that action. The actual result was contrary to a statement by Seattle School Board member Peter Maier who at the time was seen on television saying that all that happened was that a few trees were nicked.


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