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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shoreline Cuts Three "Signature" Trees at City's Gateway

Tuesday was a sad day for tree lovers in Shoreline.

We received a call from an neighborhood leader about the  contracted tree crew in the act of cutting down three huge "significant trees" at 15th NE and NE 145th.

Two huge London Plane Trees and one large Douglas Fir were cut and  put into the chipper by "Best Tree Service". One London Plane Tree was in the center median and the other next to it adjacent to the Goodwill Store. These trees were at minimum 40 years old and had provided a beautiful entryway to an otherwise unattractive "gateway" to Shoreline.  The large Douglas Fir was also of similar age, but it had been "limbed up" and was not healthy.

A contingent of citizens gathered next to the one remaining tree scheduled to be cut on the West  side of 15th NE.  They were members of Briarcrest Neighborhood Association, SE Subarea Citizens Advisory Committee, Paramount Park Neighborhood Group, Sustainable Shoreline Education Association, and Sunrise North Condo Association. These groups met with Shoreline City staff on site and asked for explanations on why these trees had been cut without any notice to the community. The citizens also requested staff to look for other alternatives to cutting the last tree. This tree is also a large London Plane tree of the same age. All of these trees were originally planted by King County in the Forward Thrust program in the 1960's and 70's.

Citizens are very concerned about the implications of this incident.  The City had undertaken an extensive planning process in this area called the SE Subarea Plan. The CAC group members stated that tree cutting at this site was never discussed with the committee over that year and a half process. The Council has yet to approve this plan. Gateways were discussed but never tree cutting. Extensive tree planting and existing tree protection ARE part of this citizen plan.

A new "Tree Ordinance" policy is coincidentally working its way through the City process. It is expected to come before the Planning Commission later this year. Staff stated that there was an "Urban Foresty Management Plan" completed in 2003. Shoreline is NOT at this time a "TREE City USA" member. This is the basic program for urban trees run by the Arbor Day Foundation. However, several years ago a past City Council did vote to make Shoreline a part of the Cascade Land Agenda Cities Program. The Council also passed a visionary project called the "Sustainability Strategy" which calls for tree protection and increasing the city's "tree canopy".

Citizens are asking the City for a comprehensive response to this incident with "reparations" which should include the include the following:

• Report and review on policies for street tree removal and retention including community notice
• saving the remaining trees
• extensive replanting and gateway design
• retention of medians and pedestrian safety planning
• pass a comprehensive Tree Ordinance which protects and increases street trees, and includes a new "improved" urban forestry management plan to increase the urban forest canopy

Citizens who are concerned about this incident are encouraged to contact the Shoreline City Council.

(206) 801-2213


  1. Looks like you need a tree cutting permit system that includes posting of all applied for permits on a site on the internet and an opportunity for people to respond and appeal the cutting unless a hazard situation exists.

    Some cities require signs being postied on trees to be cut so that neighbors can be notified. It seems wrong that trees that have existed for many years can be cut with no notice to the public.

    You can't go out and shoot birds and squirrels in Shoreline; why should you be able to cut down trees with no public involvement or review?

  2. What was the City's explanation for this degradation to our environment (not to mention the use of taxpayer's dollars...)?


  3. They claim it's always about "safety" don't ya know. Sightlines, limbs falling, pavement bucklin, sidewalks needed, blah, blah,blah. If that's the case, why do we have ANY street trees? The fact is they'd rather not have any of those annoying trees interfering with roads if truth be known.

  4. I live in Shoreline and have petioned the city to remove the large Maple tree in front of my house since 2000 and am glad to see it being removed. The replacement tree will be of a variety that will not cause the same problems that we have incurred since 2000 when we spent $2500.00 on a side sewer repair and are know faced with $4000.00 for a new driveway. All of the trees planted along the 5th Avenue corridor will need to be replaced in time to allow folks in wheelchairs to access the sidewalks just of those of us who are still able to walk single file on the existing sidewalks. Roger