I had seen at the BEX webpage that the Ingraham neighbors against having a grove of trees cut down for a new addition lost their battle in a hearing. More than 65 trees out of grove of about 130 are to come down. That in itself is sad considering most of those trees are healthy. But the district says that's the best way to build the addition and that they are replanting trees (although not the same kind with the same canopy size - I'm no expert but apparently it matters in a city what the tree canopy is).
Okay fair enough but then I heard on the 5:05 local news on KUOW yesterday that the district has dropped OUT of the city permitting process. Why? Because they own the land and can do what they want. So what they want to do is cut down as many trees as they want and THEN apply for a city permit to build.
Apparently, this tactic was done before in SW Seattle, again amidst protest from the neighborhood. The district said then that it was a "mistake".
This district continues to ignore neighborhoods and communities in what it does with its facilities. Charlie thinks the Board gives the Superintendent and staff a pass? Facilities is NEVER challenged on anything. Not even from the BEX Oversight Committee (really, go to a meeting - there's much rubberstamping going on).
This does not build goodwill within a city that already has shown ( at least in attendance) misgivings about the public school system. (Can't wait for that State Auditor's report on Facilities.)
Update: the PI published a story on this in their morning edition. From the article:
"State and local elected officials also have condemned the project over worries about the environmental damage caused by the loss of the grove of trees. The district committed to planting three trees for each one that's cut down, but the replacements will be smaller and provide fewer ecological benefits for many years.
On Friday, Mayor Greg Nickels issued a statement saying that he "is deeply disappointed in the decision by Seattle Public Schools to cut trees at Ingraham High School without further city review or public input.
"The School District should stay within the regulatory process and act in good faith," Nickels wrote. "We expect good stewardship of our trees from all our residents and from the school district."
(By the way, I think this action signals the end of the honeymoon phase between Nickels and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. I personally think he still favors an appointed Board and if he thinks the district is acting unwisely may go to others who support this action, like Senator Ed Murray, and start some quiet discussions.)
And in the Comments section after this story? Calls for voting out the current Board. I don't agree but boy, this really isn't good for the district's or the Board's reputations.
This update is courtesy of the great work over at the West Seattle blog. Here was the original blurb I heard about:
"The citywide-media’s Denny/Sealth mentions (here and here) apparently came straight from a “Save the Trees” news release (read it here), without independent followup on exactly what was cut. Here’s what the news release said (in the middle of other text about the Ingraham project):
Last week they did a similar destructive bullying tactic at Denny Sealth School in West Seattle. They bulldozed down the trees there that were part of a DNS appeal hearing while the hearing was still going on – ending any effective appeal. They apologized for their “mistake” but the trees were gone."
"(Meanwhile) we asked Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Patti Spencer what she could tell us about any Denny/Sealth tree trouble, and here’s her answer:
Here is my understanding of what the situation was/is: The contractor needed to put up a SILT fence to protect Longfellow Creek during construction. Putting up that fence necessitated trimming trees. I have been told that several branches were cut, and apparently there was one multi-trunk tree that needed toA multi-trunk tree that had to have parts of its trunk "trimmed"? I guess I'd have to see it but doesn't cutting into a trunk hurt it? I looked up "multi-trunked" and here's what I found at the Pacific NW International Society of Arborculture:
have parts of the trunk trimmed to make way for the fence. The area cleared is 3 to 4 feet wide. The mistake happened because the contractor proceeded without authorization, which meant that the work was done before the SEPA ruling was given. The hearing examiner termed this a “minor mistake.” Our facilities team has taken steps to ensure that type of action does not occur again.
"Multiple Trunks. Some trees develop
multiple trunks. Trees with multiple trunks
can, however, break if the trunks are weakly
attached. Trunks with splits or cracks have a
high failure potential. Inspect these trees for
cracks or splits where the trunks meet."
So if they cut into the trunks of a multi-trunk tree, didn't they just weaken it?
What contractor who does work for public entities doesn't know about not cutting anything down without permission? And this won't occur again? I wouldn't bet on it; it's the easiest thing in the world to do what you want knowing you have the excuse of "Sorry, didn't mean to, won't happen again."