Tag Archives: Maple Leaf Community Council

Press release on Saving Waldo Woods from Maple Leaf Community Council

March 17, 2010

** Waldo Woods Permanently Preserved **

(SEATTLE, WA) – The Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board is pleased to announce the permanent preservation of Waldo Woods.

Ordinance 116794 was passed by the Seattle City Council Monday, March 8. Confirmation was received today that Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn has signed the legislation. This ordinance represents the last step in the process where the Seattle Parks Department takes possession of a conservation easement for Waldo Woods. The effect of the conservation easement is the permanent preservation of Waldo Woods, an urban grove of mature, native Douglas firs.

“When we started this process nearly four years ago,” stated Waldo Woods Working Group head David Miller, “we didn’t know whether we’d be successful or not. Through the support of hundreds of people from across Seattle, today we’ve managed to permanently save this unique grove of trees.”

The Maple Leaf Community Council applied for a King County Conservation Futures grant three years ago in the hopes of saving Waldo Woods, an intact and healthy 80 tree grove on the eastern 1/3 of the Waldo Hospital property at 15th Avenue NE and NE 85th Street in the north Seattle Maple Leaf neighborhood. The council succeeded in its pitch, and secured a $300,000 grant from King County to preserve Waldo Woods.

In March 2009, the Maple Leaf Community Council won a court case proving the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) did not adequately assess the significant environmental impact and harm to surrounding residents from the planned demolition of historic Waldo Hospital. Shortly after the loss in court, the developer planning to remove the building and most of the trees and replace them with forty townhomes averaging $650,000 each terminated their plans.

That’s when the Menachem Mendal Seattle Cheder (MMSC) Day School stepped in and bought the property with the intention of remodeling the building into a new school. They agreed to preserve Waldo Woods, and worked closely with the Seattle Parks Department and the Maple Leaf Community Council to make that happen. MMSC will trade over $600,000 in development potential for the $300,000 in King County Conservation Futures money, using this money to help remodel Waldo Hospital into their new school.

“Our community generated enough visibility for this project to result in today’s outcome,” noted Maple Leaf Community Council President Marc Phillips. “We’re very proud our effort, joined by other groups across the city, also resulted in better tree grove preservation rules for all of Seattle.”

Conservation easements do not actually transfer ownership of the property, only the development rights on that property. MMSC retains ownership of the property and will make a portion of Waldo Woods accessible to the public. MMSC, Parks, and the Maple Leaf community will cooperate to manage and maintain Waldo Woods on an ongoing basis.

The Maple Leaf Community Council would like to thank Seattle City Councilmembers Richard Conlin, Nick Licata, Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen, Sally Clark, and Sally Bagshaw; King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson; Seattle Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher; MMSC’s Mark Goldberg; Parks Department staffers Chip Nevin and Don Harris; David Mann from the law firm of Gendler & Mann; Kathy George formerly with Cassady Law; and the hundreds of people from across Seattle who wrote letters, attended dozens of meetings, and donated money. Without considerable support from these people, this would never have happened. A special acknowledgement to Mayor Michael McGinn and the entire Seattle City Council for rapidly moving this legislation through the process.

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Maple Leaf Community Council Waldo Woods Working Group subcommittee
David Miller, Chair

Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board
Marc Phillips, President
Marc. Phillips@MapleLeafCommunity.org

Waldo Woods Saved After 3 Year Battle!

The following is a Press Release just sent out by the Maple Leaf Community Council:

Maple Leaf Community Council welcomes MMSC Day School
Historic Waldo Hospital and significant urban tree grove to be preserved

MAPLE LEAF, SEATTLE – The Maple Leaf Community Council, an organization representing over 3,700 homes and businesses in north Seattle, publicly welcomes Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder (MMSC) Day School to the Maple Leaf community. MMSC closed purchase yesterday on historic Waldo Hospital (formerly the Camp Fire offices), which they will remodel into a school serving over 80 children and young adults. School officials have indicated they will preserve and remodel historic Waldo Hospital, built in 1924 for the purpose of educating new doctors, and preserve the significant urban grove of trees on the site.

“We welcome MMSC into the Maple Leaf neighborhood,” commented Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board President Marc Phillips. “We have already had preliminary conversations and are very excited they plan to preserve the historic building and urban tree grove.”

The announced purchase closes a three-year effort by the Maple Leaf Community Council to positively affect planned development at the site. Original plans for over 40 high-priced townhomes would have removed nearly 90% of the trees on the site and potentially exposed the community to toxic dust. Despite multiple offers of alternatives to both the previous owners and the developer, which included securing a $300,000 King County Conservation Futures Grant to protect the grove of trees on the site, the project ended up in court where King County Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw agreed with the Maple Leaf community’s position that neither the developer nor the City correctly followed state environmental protection rules.

“It is hard for me to overstate my excitement that MMSC plans to preserve both the building and the trees,” stated David Miller, Chair of the Maple Leaf Community Council’s Waldo Working Group. “Returning Waldo Hospital to its historical use as an educational institution is an amazing outcome.”

“I’ve spoken with MMSC,” continued Miller, “and they’ve indicated a strong desire to work closely with the community on student pick-up & drop off routing, permitting, and the possible addition of a new building to the grounds. We’re all looking forward to working closely with MMSC, working together with them to hasten the permitting process so they can open their school on time.”

Hundreds of people from across Seattle donated time and money to the three-year effort to save Waldo Woods and Waldo Hospital. This effort led directly to new tree grove protection rules, the first meaningful update to Seattle’s tree ordinance in over a decade, and a higher understanding of the need for lead dust policies in the City.

The Maple Leaf Community Council would like to particularly acknowledge the efforts of attorneys David Mann, Kathy George, and Charlotte Cassady, arborist Tina Cohen, architect Susan Boyle, the staff in the archives at the Chicago headquarters of the American Osteopathic Association, and the staff at the AT Still National Osteopathic Museum for their assistance at various times over the past three years.

The above press release is taken from an e-mail sent out by the Maple Leaf Community Council

Waldo Woods Supporters Fired Up in Protest!

Waldo Woods supporters turned out last night in a protest gathering to voice their outrage over the threatened loss of trees at the old Campfire property on 15th Ave NE in Seattle. The Campfire Girls organization sold the old Waldo Hospital grounds and building to a private developer rather than offering it to the city as a possible neighborhood park. It abuts the neighboring reservoir which is to be lidded and would have made a natural addition to the proposed lid area and park existing on Roosevelt Ave NE.
The Maple Leaf Community Council went through numerous meetings and attempts to save the trees on the property. More than half will be cut down. The Community Council recently lost a decision before a Seattle Hearing Examiner that pitted them against the city and the developer. The Hearing Examiner ruled against them despite errors in the developer’s application before the city and the magnitude of trees to be lost.
When trees go up against developers in Seattle, trees lose. The cards are stacked against saving trees because Seattle has a very weak tree preservation ordinance that only looks at saving exceptional trees which are few in number. The City Council has passed an ordinance urging the DPD Director to include tree groves in the category of trees to be saved.
You can read more about Waldo Woods by going to: http://www.mapleleafcommunity.org/savewaldo_5.html