Tag Archives: Richard Conlin

Seattle City Council Acts to Protect Urban Tree Canopy

The following press release was issued today by the Seattle City Council after they voted on two measures to increase tree protection in Seattle.

Council approves new tree protection guidelines Implementation begins in 2010, establishes an Urban Forestry Commission

SEATTLE – The City Council today unanimously passed two measures to improve the management of the city’s trees and strengthen protections to ensure the health, quality, and overall coverage of Seattle’s tree canopy.

Resolution 31138 asks the Department of Planning and Development to write a new tree protection ordinance. It outlines specific policy initiatives that the Council believes critical to successful urban forest management. Council Bill 116557 establishes a nine-member Urban Forestry Commission to advise the mayor and Council and help educate the public on urban forestry issues.

“Our urban trees are an incredibly valuable resource — and we must act if we want to keep them,” said Council President Richard Conlin. “The review by the City Auditor told us that the city must improve our system for protecting and managing trees. We need updated code that recognizes the economic, environmental, and social values that trees offer.”

Both measures are in response to a dramatic 50 percent loss of tree cover over the last forty years. The city continues to lose mature trees that provide cooling shade, improve air quality, provide wildlife habitat, sequester climate changing carbon, help with drainage issues by retaining water and improve property value.

“The Urban Forestry Commission will provide well-rounded expertise to assist the city in protecting and expanding our tree canopy while accommodating growth,” added Councilmember Nick Licata.

A report by the City Auditor in 2009 highlighted that most of the implementation work outlined in the Urban Forest Management Plan has not been completed.

Resolution 31138 requests that DPD write new regulations that consider preventing tree removal in required yards and setbacks, create a permitting system and fines for non-permitted tree removal, provide clearer direction for tree relocation and develop incentives for retention. It also asks DPD to consider Transfer Development Rights to developers, giving them more flexibility for creative solutions to Seattle’s urban canopy crisis.

The Urban Forestry Commission will include a community group representative, experts with technical backgrounds in wildlife biology, arboriculture, landscape architecture, and a representative of the development community. It will be staffed by the Office of Sustainability and Environment.

Seattle City Council Creates Urban Forestry Commission

The Seattle City Council today unamiously passed by 8-0 votes two measures designed to help protect Seattle’s urban forest. The two measures were Resolution 31138 to improve City tree policies sponsored by Councilmember Conlin and Ordinance 116577 to create an Urban Forestry Commission that was sponsored by Nick Licata.

Councilmember Licata sent out the following e-mail:

“I believe we must expand our urban forest canopy. Our urban forest provides benefits to drainage, air quality such as CO2 reduction, as well as aesthetic benefits. It also provides useful shade on the 95+ degree days we had last week.

The Urban Forest Commission can assist the City in meeting the challenge of expanding our tree canopy while increasing residential density, as foreseen in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan, by providing broad-based expertise.

The Urban Forestry Commission passed by the EEMU Committee would have nine members: a wildlife biologist, an urban ecologist, a representative of a local, state, or federal natural resource agency or an accredited university, a hydrologist, an arborist, a landscape architect, representative of a non-profit or NGO whose mission is to advocate for the urban forest, a representative of the development community, and an economist or real estate broker, preferably with expertise in land use or environmental planning.

The Urban Forestry Commission has the following duties:
* to provide recommendations regarding City plans, major or significant policy recommendations, and any City department’s recommendations related to urban forestry, arboriculture, and horticulture;

* to provide recommendations on any Urban Forest Management Plan, or similar document designed to provide policy direction on preserving and protecting the City’s urban forest habitat;

* to provide recommendations on legislation concerning urban forest management, sustainability and protection of trees on public or private property;

* to review and comment on any proposal to inventory trees within the City of Seattle;

* Monitor implementation of City plans and policies related to the urban forest, and provide review and comment to the Mayor and City Council

* to educate the public on urban forestry issues;

* to review programs for identifying and maintaining trees with significant historical, cultural, environmental, educational, ecological or aesthetic value; and

* comment on the proposed Office of Sustainability and Environment work program, and any work by any City interdepartmental advisory body relating to the Urban Forest.

In addition, the Urban Forestry Commission will consider making recommendations for items included in the resolution, including incentives for developers to preserve existing trees and/or plant new trees. While I understand some might prefer to not have developers represented on this commission, it would be difficult to carry out this task, and reach practical, sensible incentives that can be used by developers to preserve and add to our urban forest canopy without their being represented.

Resolution 31138 passed tree protection guidelines, with City departments due to report back to the City Council in 2010 on various tree-related policy questions.”

Eight Seattle City Council Members Sign Letter Urging Seattle School Board to Look at Alternative Design for Ingraham High School

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School


Eight of the Nine Seattle City Council Members yesterday signed a letter urging the Seattle School Board to look at alternative designs to cutting down over 80 trees on the west side of Ingraham High School. Ingraham High School is currently considering adding an addition to the west side of the high school to replace a number of old portables that will be taken down.

One alternative site is on the north side of the high school and would not require that any large trees be cut down. It is currently listed as a possible site for a future addition to the high school as part of the school’s long range plans – so it is certainly a viable alternative.

Below is the e-mail sent out by the eight Seattle City Council members as well as some links to previous coverage of this issue and a link to the Seattle Public Schools website link on the Ingraham High School Construction Project. Last Friday the Seattle Public School’s issued a Revised Checklist and (another) Determination of Nonsignificance for the Project.

While the Seattle School District added some more mitigation in the form of planting more trees on the campus, they still do not do a biomass or CO2 fixation analysis that determines how many small trees are needed to compensate for even one large 50 year old, 100 foot tall Douglas fir tree.

With 50 plus years of growth the majority of the Douglas fir and western red cedar trees proposed to be cut down are well on their way to being trees of significance in Seattle. Somewhere the continued cutting down of large trees in Seattle has to stop. The tree cover in Seattle in 1972 was listed as 40%. Last year it was 18%.


From: Richard Conlin
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 3:36 PM

To: cheryl.chow@seattleschools.org
; harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org
; mary.bass@seattleschools.org
; michael.debell@seattleschools.org
; peter.maier@seattleschools.org
; sherry.carr@seattleschools.org
; steve.sungquist@seattleschools.org

Subject: Ingraham H.S. Plans for Expansion

May 12, 2008

Seattle Public Schools
School Board
PO Box 34165, MS 11-010
Seattle WA 98124-1165

Dear Board Members,

As members of the City Council, we are writing to request that the School Board take a closer look at plans to expand Ingraham High School. We recognize that the authority to determine a design rests with the School District and School Board, but we have concerns about the proposed plan. We therefore want to communicate those concerns and ask that you consider them as you move forward with this important project.

Our primary uneasiness rests with the loss of most, if not all, of the sixty plus Douglas Firs and some twenty-two Madrona trees that we understand will be cut down under the proposed design. We would like to encourage you to consider alternative designs that might preserve these important assets.

It is important that we maintain and increase our tree canopy, not only to honor the esthetic that our residents know and love, but in order to carry out our responsibility to prevent global warming and to maintain a healthy environment. Stands of mature trees are the lungs of our ecosystem; they provide important benefits to our drainage systems and creeks. In 2007 the City launched an Urban Forest Management Policy to preserve and maintain our tree canopy. Unfortunately, we are rapidly running out of available green space; and, despite our commitment to maintaining the urban forest, trees like those on your property too often are cut.

The loss of mature Madrona and Douglas firs cannot adequately be compensated for by planting young trees. As a City that recognizes its responsibility to future generations, and as a city that has made urban density a goal, we must not lose the opportunities we have to keep existing natural areas.

The City Council has received a significant number of emails and calls opposing the removal of these trees. We believe that it is quite possible that an alternative exists which would give the School District what it needs without losing a valued feature of the community and a precious environmental resource to the City.

We offer any assistance that we could give to work with you to find the right answer for the School District and the community. We sincerely hope that you will take our concerns into consideration.


Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Council President Richard Conlin
Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025

(206) 684-8805

Additional information by Majority Rules Blog for this post::

Ingraham High School Renovation, Demolition and New Construction Project – Seattle Public Schools

http://www.king5.com/video/index.html?nvid=234572 – King TV Video

Neighbors near Ingraham High School Fight to Save Evergreens – Seattle Times

A Growing Contradiction at Ingraham High – Seattle PI

Correcting the Public Record on Ingraham High School – Majority Rules Blog

Seattle School Board Wins Grinch Award – Majority Rules Blog

Neighbors Urge Seattle School Board to Redesign Ingraham High School Project – Majority Rules Blog

King Co Executive Ron Sims, Senators Ed Murray and Ken Jacobsen Sign Petition to Save the Trees – Majority Rules Blog

Seattle School District Says Cutting Down 62 Evergreen Trees in City is Not Significant – Majority Rules Blog