Tag Archives: Seattle City Council

Seattle City Council Unamiously Passes Updated Street Tree Ordinance

Seattle City Council


The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed it’s updated Street Tree Ordinance. There were no amendments – if changes are desired in legislation it’s necessary to get them done in Committee before they come to the full Council for a vote. Thank you to everyone who took time to write or contact the Seattle City Council on this issue.

You can view the adopted Ordinance # 117745  by clicking on this link.

The gist of the bill is that permits will be required to remove or do major trimming to street trees and  tree replacement is required for trees removed “if site conditions permit”.
Applying for a permit to remove a street tree does not mean it will be removed.
A tree can only be removed if it is a hazardous tree, poses a public safety hazard, is in a condition of poor health or poor vigor or cannot be successfully retained due to public or private construction or development conflicts.
Notice of an application to remove a tree must be publicly posted at the site for 14 days and public comment will be accepted before the Director makes a decision.
Any person violating the act shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 per day.
In addition any person who destroys, injures  or mutilates a street tree may be subject to a fine equal to the appraised value of the tree and if the violation is willful or malicious, the penalty may be trebled.
All tree service providers engaged in pruning, removing or otherwise treating street trees shall register annually with the Department of Transportation.
Any major pruning, removal or treatment of street trees by a Tree Service provider shall be certified by an ISA certified arborist or ISA certified worker.

You can read the full ordinance to get more details. If you have concerns about specific language or its interpretation you should let Nolan Rundquist at the SDOT know as they will be preparing CAMS or Client Assistance Memos to explain details to the public to clarify issues which may be confusing.

Nolan Rundquist, the City Arborist at SDOT has been working many years to get this ordinance drafted and passed and should be thanked for sticking with it. Also the Seattle Urban Forest Commission helped in reviewing the proposal as well as members of the public. And Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin deserves special recognition for leading the Council effort to enact this update.

Next up in the next few months will be the 5 year update of the Urban Forest Management Plan which is being renamed  the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan.

The third component of the urban forest updates is the private property tree ordinance proposal.  DPD  (Seattle Department of Planning and Development) has said they will release a new draft sometime in June and we can expect the issue will be before the Seattle City Council for a vote early next year.

So far this has been the hardest component of the urban forest updates to reach agreement on because of DPD’s bias toward development as its mission rather than the protection of trees. This is why efforts need to be continued to move oversight of trees to the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE).  DPD’s prime mission is to help developers build projects, not protect trees. To get maximum protection, tree oversight needs to be in a department where they have an advocate to speak for them and OSE’s mission is most consistent with that.

Keep updated on Seattle tree and urban forestry issues by following  Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest   

Let the Seattle City Council know you support the Updated Street Tree Ordinance!

Dear Friends of Trees,

The Seattle City Council is going to vote on a new Street Tree Ordinance on Monday April 29, 2013. The last time they updated the ordinance was 1961 – over 50 years ago. The new ordinance is much improved. It has been floating around for about 10 years in various drafts. The current draft that is being voted on is Council Bill 117745. We need people to let the Seattle City Council that it’s time to pass this legislation.

Council Bill 117745 would continue the requirement that people get permits to remove street trees and for major pruning. It would require 2 week posting of permits. Tree service providers must register with the City. Penalties are accessed for illegally removing a tree based on its assessed value and treble damages if it is a willful or malicious act. There is no charge for a permit and trees must be replaced “if site conditions permits”. This is one weakness in the bill because it could require that the tree be planted elsewhere if site conditions do not permit. Tree replacement is necessary if we are to have no net loss of canopy as a result of tree removal. Also there is no requirement that the replacement tree be comparable in canopy coverage even if the site allows for that.

You can help in two ways.

Send an e-mail to the Seattle City Council members and urge them to pass the Updated street Tree Ordinance – Council Bill 117745 to help protect Seattle’s trees and urban forest!  Tell them why this is important to you. Here are their e-mails:










Attend the City Council meeting – There will be 15 minutes at the beginning of the Council meeting for public testimony, a maximum of 2 minutes per person. It would really help to show support for the ordinance by having people testify for it or just being present in the audience showing support and maybe giving a cheer after they vote. You can also sign in support of the bill and not testify.

Seattle City Council meeting, Monday, April 29, 2013, 2 PM

600 4th Ave, Council Chamber, Seattle City Hall, Floor 2

Thanks everyone for helping get this legislation passed.

Steve Zemke

Chair – Save the Trees-Seattle

PS –  Check out our facebook page at Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest   We try to keep folks updated on what’s happening with trees and our urban forest on this page.

Do District Elections for Seattle Make Sense?

A third initiative effort is underway for district elections for Seattle City Council members. Two previous efforts have not been successful with the voters. The current proposal is for a hybrid system. It proposes to divide Seattle  into 7  districts and elect a Council member from each one.  Two additional members would be elected city wide. Right now all City Council members are elected citywide. You can see the proposal more specifically by visiting their website at Seattle Districts Now.

The real question is what is broken and is it necessary to radically change the current system.

Would district elections of Seattle City Council members be good for Seattle? The proponents argue that current  Seattle City Council members are out of touch with the neighborhoods and don’t respond to constituents. They argue  that they have no one to take their neighborhood problems to and that having one Council member elected from their district will solve that problem.

I believe it is wishful thinking to make the  assumption that the district person elected is going to somehow be more responsive  to neighborhood concerns and things will be better than the current situation. There is no guarantee.  Council members  are elected for 4 years so it would be 4 years before someone could run again to change things.  And there is the danger that district Council members may also  pay a lot less attention to  issues in other districts as well as city wide issues.

There is also the problem that even if you get a good District City Council member, you still need 5 votes out of 9 to get things done on the Council. Former City Council member Sam Smith was fond of repeating this over and over.

Dividing the city into districts means that because 7 of the new Council members would each only represent 1/7 of the voters and only 2 all of the voters, that this combination would give the Mayor more power and diminish the power of the City Council compared to the current City Council /Mayor structure where they are all elected citywide.

Right now nine City Council members represent all voters and voters can approach any of the nine City Council members for help. Council members are responsible for the whole city, not just 1/7 of the city. Under district elections you are pinning your hopes on one City Council member to be your primary representative.

What if that city council member is not responsive to your needs? Going to any of the other 6 district Council members probably will not be as successful because they are much less likely to feel the need to respond to your concerns as you are no longer their constituent who can vote against them. And if the issue does not involve a neighborhood in their district they are more likely to not get involved.

It’s just like trying to talk to a state legislator about a problem in your legislative district and he/she is a representative from another legislative district. He/she may listen to you but will more than likely tell you to talk to your own elected representatives.

You have 2 other city wide City Council members to try but it is not the same as having 9 possible council members to approach as you can now.

In addition proponents of district elections  argue that it is too expensive to run for Seattle City Council and that being able to run in a smaller area means more people can run and have a chance of winning without having to raise big dollars. In the 2011 cycle, incumbent City Council members raised on the average about $250,000 and most challengers usually raised much less. Money means outreach and voter contact and without it is is difficult to run.

I have run twice for the Seattle City Council myself and came in third twice. I understand the money problem but  I also think that with this proposal  people may be  putting too many hopes on the idea that changing the election process will generate more success in electing neighborhood candidates. I think the problems are bigger than that.

One basic fact will still remain. Most incumbents in Seattle are pretty well versed on the issues before them and have name recognition and media exposure that challengers usually do not. Not all challengers are qualified to run for office, lacking experience in city issues or campaign experience. Voters need a reason to throw an incumbent out.  And they need some sense that the challenger will do a better job.

It is a false assumption to assume that incumbency, name recognition  or money will no longer be big factors in who gets elected. Once elected in a District it will be hard to remove incumbents. One only has to look at how long some state Legislators have stayed in office and how  hard it is to challenge them.

As to money I believe the same interests that support the current elected City Council members will still put their money into candidates that represent their interests. Money will still be a significant factor in City Council races.It is highly likely that most of the current City Council members will adjust to a new system and either run for a District seat in the area they live in or one of the two citywide seats and some will move if need be to another district to run.

The downtown interests and developer interests and business interests that neighborhood groups point to as funding the current Council members are not going to declare defeat or ignore City Council races because of District elections.  They will support the same people who represent their interests whether they run in District elections or City wide. They will also recruit candidates to run in Districts to represent their interests if current Council members do not run in those districts. And expect they will spend as much as now to elect their candidates only the efforts will now be focused on a much smaller population of voters.

Business interests will still be able to target their mailers to voters in the Districts and will still be able to draw contributions  and support from business interests citywide as well as PAC donations.

Meanwhile I think neighborhood candidates will have a more difficult time raising money because neighborhood people across the city will be less likely to give money to elect a candidate not running in their neighborhood. It is similar to what happens now in electing State Legislators. Most of their individual donors live in their legislative district. And other money coming from PAC’s will have the same strings attached as if they were running citywide.

Perspective neighborhood candidates will also have to face the limitations of running based on where they live.   With district elections the options will be limited to either running against the incumbent in your district or for one of the two city wide seats.  If their district incumbent is entrenched or popular or both their options are limited for running.

Right now perspective candidates can pick any incumbent city council candidate to run against  or any seat. They can pick who they consider the weakest incumbent is. With district elections they would have to move to do that if it isn’t their incumbent district city council member. Moving unfortunately is not an option for most people or candidates, particularly challengers who are not guaranteed to win in any sense of the word.

Unfortunately  moving would take you out of the district you live in, raising the issue of being a carpetbagger. In addition it would remove you  from your previous district  connections and involvement and credentials  that supposedly are one of  a neighborhood candidate’s assets to running in a district. And if you lose you have to wait 4 more years before you can run again in that district. Right now if you lose you can run again in two years  if an open seat emerges or you just decide to run again against a different sitting incumbent.

Suppose you live in a District that has an incumbent neighborhood advocate like say Council member Nick Licata and you want to run. You’re not going to run against him so your only option is to run for one of the two citywide seats up every 4 years, which may also have 2 popular incumbents. Do you move? Your options to run have now become much more limited and the options of other good candidates have also become more limited, because of the restrictions that district boundaries place on your ability to run.

These and other concerns need to be weighted carefully before neighborhood advocates and others charge forward with significant changes to how we elect City Council members.  I believe difficulties will still remain and it will be just as difficult to get elected as it is now.  Downtown and business interests will still play a pivotal role in funding and electing candidates and are not going to concede the City Council to neighborhood advocates.

The prime criteria to get elected will still remain – the need to be a credible candidate with a clear  compelling reason for voters to vote for you, the ability to articulate a vision for the future of the city, not just your neighborhood, the ability to raise money, the ability to communicate your message to voters and the ability  connect with the voters.


Who is behind the effort to deregulate tree protection in the city of Seattle?

Trees removed from Ingraham High School in 2011


Trees being cut at Ingraham High School in 2011

Citizens file public records request for Mayor McGinn and DPD to disclose who is involved in drafting legislation to significantly reduce protection for trees in Seattle

On Friday, May 25, 2012 Save the Trees-Seattle filed public records requests with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and with the Office of the Mayor regarding their roles in implementing and carrying out the directives in Seattle City Council Resolution 31138 and to find out who else is involved.

Resolution 31138 passed August 3 2009 and requested “that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) submit legislation by May 2010 to establish a comprehensive set of regulations and incentives to limit the removal of trees and promote the retention and addition of trees within the City of Seattle on both private and public property, including city park land. DPD shall consult with all city departments that own lands that will be affected by these regulations or incentives.”

However in response to this resolution DPD submitted a scoping document in 2011 that mostly ignored the issues and direction that the Seattle City Council asked to be considered. Instead they  proposed dropping all existing regulations to protect significant trees and tree groves in Seattle. saying that all that was needed were incentives and education. This is contrary to the direction most other cities are moving.

The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission and tree advocates strongly objected to last year’s scoping document’s conclusions and the flawed public review process that DPD held. When asked, DPD’s representative on several occasions publicly stated that they did not have to tell the public where and when public meetings were being held where people could give input. They would not post on the city’s website the places and times publicly paid city workers were discussing the proposed ordinance. They then tried to claim that they sought public input.

Unlike Shoreline which last year conducted a public process to receive citizen input on their proposed tree ordinance and posted citizen comment on the website, DPD only “summarized” what input they received and did not release or post what citizens and others actually submitted. They did not as far as we could tell record most public comments at meetings we attended or have a form for people to respond to nor did they take notes of most comments. In other words we did not really see a public record being kept of public input.

A DPD representative who is the point person to the Urban Forestry Commission informed the Urban Forestry Commission earlier this month that DPD has now drafted a new proposed tree ordinance. This was news to the Urban Forestry Commission as none of them appeared to have been involved in reviewing or writing this new proposed ordinance even though there are many experts on the Urban Forestry Commission.

Who drafted this proposed ordinance which we are told will be released in July for public comment? The recent article in the Seattle Times entitled “Developer interests guide mayor Mayor’s growth proposals” seems to answer the question – Mayor McGinn’s shadow government which is operating out of the public eye. No one in the urban forestry and tree protection community was involved to our knowledge.

This secretive cabal of special interest adviser’s to McGinn is operating outside the public eye and without public scrutiny. Yet DPD’s Head – Diane Sugimura is involved and that probably explains how last year’s flawed tree protection proposal supposedly written by DPD and that represents the developer’s position and would have removed protection for most trees in Seattle and that opposed a tree permit system to remove trees,  came to be the exact opposite of what the Seattle City Council requested. DPD’s proposal pushed for deregulation rather than protection for trees and Seattle’s urban forest.

There will always be differences of opinion on proposed legislation but a process that is a sham and shuts out the public, but listens to special interests, has no place in Seattle. It has no credibility. That is why we are seeking information so that the public knows who is driving this effort to deregulate tree protection in Seattle.  We believe the City Council needs to remove the drafting of a new tree ordinance from DPD which has a conflict of interest in representing development interests and not tree protection. They get revenue from issuing building permits, not saving trees.

Seattle Public Utilities or the Office of Sustainability and the Environment would be better city Departments to propose draft legislation and oversee such legislation. Nine city Departments deal with tree issues.   A combination of the Urban Forestry Commission, the Planning Commission and the Parks Commission would not have a conflict of interest  in overseeing a public review process of proposed legislation. DPD did a terribly flawed process and is not to be trusted.

This flawed DPD faux public process is in danger of being repeated again. This is the wrong way to draft legislation. Seattle should look to Portland as an example where a public process involved public meetings conducted jointly by their Urban Forestry Commission and their Planning Commission and received strong public support.

Legislation crafted by special interests behind closed doors has no place in Seattle and needs to be rejected. It’s up to the City Council to step in to change this flawed process. DPD and their developer interests have a conflict of interest in drafting a tree protection ordinance and should not be in charge of doing so.

City of Seattle and Seattle School District to End Lives of 29 Trees at Ingraham High School that have Served the City for over 70 Years

NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

It is with sadness that we (Save the Trees – Seattle) announce that we have reached the end of our efforts to save some 29 mature Douglas fir, western red cedar and madrone trees at Ingraham High School. We recently lost our appeal before King County Superior Court Judge Teresa Doyle and are unable to continue with an appeal to the Appellate Court because of the cost and potential liability if we lose on continued appeal.

Save the Trees – Seattle has succeeded in reducing the trees to be cut in the NW Grove from an initial 70 to less than 30. The 29 trees to be cut down represent about one quarter of the trees in the NW Grove. We also succeed in saving a mixed conifer madrone grove of the trees on the east side of the school that had been protected for 50 years in an agreement with the Parks Department but which the Seattle School District had targeted for a parking lot.

Our efforts to save the NW Tree Grove helped to get the City to pass a stronger interim tree protection law which currently protects tree groves from future development. We also originated the idea and worked to pass legislation to create the current Urban Forestry Commission. And we are working now to fight the proposal by the Mayor and his Department of Planning and Development to deregulate tree protection in the city that would send us back to the roar of chainsaws clearcutting what trees remain in Seattle’s reduced tree canopy which has been reduced by half since the 1970’s.

The time to appeal expires as of Dec 9th so we expect the Seattle School District to rev up their chainsaws and cut the trees down as early as this weekend. We urge you to stop by and say good-by to the 29 trees condemned to die because of the City’s and the Seattle School District’s blindness to environmental and ecological values.

If the trees are gone when you come by, we urge you to pay homage to the 70 plus years of service they provided the city by reducing stormwater runoff, cleaning our city’s air, producing oxygen for us to breathe, providing a park area for the school and the neighborhood, providing habitat for birds and squirrels and insects and other animals and plant life, for being part of the last 50 plus acres of an uncommon plant habitat in Seattle (a conifer madrone forest), and for just being there for their beauty and serenity.

This Sunday (Dec 12, 2010) at 10 AM we will hold a Citizen’s Memorial Service on the North side of the tree grove to honor the trees for their 70 years of service to our neighborhood and city and to say good -by.

The street is N 135th between Ashworth Ave N and Meridian Ave N. Please come by and bring something in writing or a sign or flowers or something to post on the wire fence circling the grove. Bring a poem or words or a picture to share with others as we grieve for this unnecessary loss of part of our city and our neighborhood and our green urban forest infrastructure.

And vow to write to the Mayor and the Seattle City Council, urging them to reject efforts to eliminate all protections for existing trees as the Mayor proposes. Urge that they strengthen our tree laws to protect trees like those being cut down at Ingraham High School.

And if you are able to – please donate to Save the Trees to help pay off our legal bills and support our efforts needed over the next year to get a much stronger tree protection law passed. Contributions can be sent to Save the Trees-Seattle, c/o Steve Zemke, 2131 N 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98133. If you have questions or would like to help in our fight, you can contact us at stevezemke@msn.com or call 206-366-0811.

We want to thank everyone who has helped over the last three years. Your support has keep us going. While we have not saved all of the NW Grove, we have reduced the impact and loss overall. We as a group are dedicating ourselves to strengthening our City’s tree laws so that other trees in our city can avoid the fate facing those trees being cut down at Ingraham High School with taxpayer dollars. On Sunday we will pay homage to those trees that are dying an unnatural death despite their long service of 70 years to our city. We hope you will join us in saying thanks on Sunday.

Steve Zemke
Chair – Save the Trees-Seattle

PS – Come by and see the trees and post something on the fence or leave something when you can. As I noted, there is no guarantee that the trees won’t be cut down before Sunday. The 29 trees to be cut down are those closest to the west side of the Ingraham High School Building.

E-mails for the Seattle City Council are:









Also send a letter to: Mayor McGinn, Seattle City Hall 7th floor, 600 Fourth Avenue, P.O. Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749

PPS: Please forward this to others as time is short. Let neighbors and others know and come on Sunday.

Seattle Urban Forestry Commission Needs to Concentrate on New Tree Ordinance

The following are comments presented to the Seattle City Council’s Committee on Regional Development and Sustainability on June 4, 2010 by Steve Zemke, the Chairperson of Save the Trees – Seattle

“I want to again commend the Council for their action last year in recognizing the importance of Seattle’s urban forest to the infrastructure and well being of our city through their actions to create the Urban Forestry Commission and set a task of revising and strengthening our tree and urban forestry ordinances.

The 9 member Urban Forestry Commission has been meeting since January and has been busy coming to grips with the multitude of issues dealing with trees in the city. I have been impressed with the commitment and level of thought and experience the Commissioners have brought to the table to assist the Mayor and City Council in their efforts to protect trees and reach the goal of significantly increasing Seattle’s urban forest and canopy.

I think if anything the Commission has been faced with too many issues and need now to refocus their efforts by doing a long range work plan. I believe their main priority should be to focus in on helping you draft and evaluate provisions as proposed for a revised tree and urban forestry ordinance in Council Resolution Number 31138 passed last August 3, 2009, the same day you created the urban forestry commission.

Trees continue to be lost every day in the city. Rumor circulating among city departments dealing with trees has it that a figure of 17,000 trees a year are lost in Seattle. We need to deal with this loss by among other things setting up an expanded permit system to remove any tree over 6 inches on both private and public property. Other cities do this and successfully. They are placing a much higher priority on having a green city than Seattle is.

Permits are already required before someone can remove a street tree.

In addition all persons performing tree trimming and removal should be required to get a business license from the city before they can remove trees in the city as a business. Our current system of protecting exceptional trees is complaint based. By the time anyone in the city receives a complaint the trees are gone.

Rather than requiring property owners to understand all the in and outs of complex tree regulations thoroughly, put the burden on those who profit by illegally cutting down trees in our city. Severe penalties and loss or suspension of a business license would go a long way to end illegal tree cutting. Educating several hundred people engaged as arborists or other tree service people in city laws to protect trees is a lot easier than trying to reach some 600,000 or so city residents.

The city needs to move now to tighten our urban forestry protections. Please urge the Urban Forestry Commission to focus their energies on helping you fulfill the directives given in Resolution 31138.”

Latest Fundraising Totals in Seattle Races

Campaign Disclosure Information can be found at the Washington State Public Disclosure website , as well as at the City of Seattle Ethics and Election Commission website.  You can get more detailed on these races, including who gave them money, how much and how the campaign spent it. This information is what was reported as of Nov 2, 2009.

Seattle City Mayor – no incumbent
Joe Mallahan ……raised $711,205 …..spent $655,524

Michael McGinn …..raised $204,912 …..spent $166,774

City Council Position 2 – Incumbent is Richard Conlin

Richard Conlin …. raised $175,980…. spent $134,283

David Ginsberg…. raised $41,177…. spent $42,044

City Council Position 4 – no incumbent

Sally Bagshaw …. raised $224,134…. spent $172,104

David Bloom …. raised $93,907  …. spent $85,411

City Council Position 6 – Incumbent is Nick Licata

Jessie Israel …. raised $184,213…. spent $170,664

Nick Licata…. raised $138,021…. spent $128,843

City Council Position 8 – no incumbent

Mike O’Brien …. raised  $129,103 ….spent  $99,886

Robert Rosencrantz ….raised $222,022…. spent $208,794

Seattle City Attorney – Incumbent is Tom Carr

Thomas Carr …..raised $92,006 …..spent $77,440

Peter Holmes …..raised $85,521 ……spent $78,949

Seattle School District #4 – Michael DeBell is incumbent

Michael DeBell …..raised $5,505 …..spent $3,491

Seattle School District #5 – Incumbent is Mary Bass

Kay Smith-Blum …..raised $54,910 …..spent $48,904

Mary Bass …..raised $35,006 …..$34,377

Seattle School District #7 – no incumbent

Betty Patu ……raised $11,291 ….spent $8,275

Wilson Chim …..raised $53,513 …..spent $40,866

King County Election Results – Tuesday Evening

King County Elections posted at 9:52 PM the last results for today of ballots that were received through Tuesday in the mail and in person polling today at its three locations. The next results will be at 4:30 PM on Wednesday.

It is going to be a bad night for Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle as he currently is in third and is closely trailing two challengers Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan. Polls leading up to the election today that showed his support was very low coming into Election Day were obviously fairly accurate in saying he was in trouble.

Here are the early numbers:

Mike McGinn 16,891 26.56%

Joe Mallahan 16,376 25.81%

Greg Nickels 15,921 25.05%

This was an all mail in ballot and being an August Primary the turnout is very low so far. This could change if a lot of people waited until today to turn in ballots in the mail. Tomorrow’s numbers will be more decisive. King 5 TV tonight thought that maybe only 50% of the potential ballots were in so far and counted.

The current mailed in ballots only comprise 17.37% of registered Seattle voters. (Ballots Cast/Registered Voters: 65,942 / 379,721 17.37%)

The King County Executives race in November is going to be between Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchinson. Hutchinson was the only “Republican” candidate in the race and got 37.4% of the vote Dow Constantine one of 4 Democrats running got 22.38% of the vote.

Court of Appeals Judge Anne L Ellington is easily winning with 74.16% of the vote.

Port Commission Position 3 saw Rob Holland at 50.93% and David Doud at 33.10%.

Port Commission Position 4 saw Tom Albo at 38.72%. Second was Max Vekich at 26.75% and Robert Wilkes at 24,70%. This race could still see some changes and is too close to call for second.

Seattle School Board members are elected by District. The top 2 candidates in the Primary then run citywide in November. in Position #5 incumbent Mary Bass received 38.51% of the vote with challenger Kay Smith Blum at 38.03%. In Position #7 Betty Patu received 46.31% and Wilson Chin 41.31%.

In Seattle City Council Position 4 Sally Bagshaw received 49.99% to David Bloom’s 18.2%.

In Seattle City Council Position 6 incumbent Nick Licata polled 52.82% to Jessie Israel’s 29.99%.

In Seattle City Council Position 8 Mike O’Brien received 35.58% to Robert Rosencrantz’s 19.38%

Voters voted down Referendum 1 on bag fees by 58.09% to 41.91%

Seattle City Council Races Sorting Out in First Election Results

The three Seattle City Council races are sorting out in the first results from King County Elections being released at 8:03 PM. Because this is an all mail in ballot, final results may take a while to sort out in position 8 but the trends are pretty clear in the other races.

As we noted in our previous post The Seattle Mayor’s race is a three way tie, with Michael McGinn on top, followed closely by Joe Mallahan and incumbent Greg Nickels a close third.

In Position 4 Sally Bagshaw has a commanding lead with 50.06% of the vote. David Bloom is her most likely opponent, coming in second with 18.17%.

In Position 6, incumbent Councilmember Nick Licata has a comfortable 52,54%, with Jessie Israel coming in second at 29.99%.

In position 8, Sierra Club member Mike O’Brien has a comfortable lead in the 6 person race at 35.56% of the vote. Robert Rosencrantz more allied with the business community has come in at second with 19.39%. Jordan Royer is third and David Miller is fourth. This is the tightest race for second position of the three seats in the primary and there could be some changes when mailed in ballots are counted in the next two days.

City of Seattle Council Position No. 4

Sally Bagshaw 28,087 50.06%

Thomas Tobin 5,706 10.17%

Brian Carver 5,021 8.95%

Dorsol Plants 6,853 12.21%

David Bloom 10,194 18.17%

Write-in 244 0.43%

City of Seattle Council Position No. 6

Marty Kaplan 9,592 16.73%

Nick Licata 30,260 52.79%

Jessie Israel 17,192 29.99%

Write-in 278 0.48%

City of Seattle Council Position No. 8

Mike O’Brien 19,913 35.56%

Rusty Williams 3,046 5.44%

Bobby Forch 6,731 12.02%

David Miller 6,842 12.22%

Jordan Royer 8,359 14.93%

Robert Rosencrantz 10,857 19.39%

Write-in 248 0.44%

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.