Friday, January 28, 2011

Ingraham Trees Start To Fall

The long-running saga of the neighbors versus the district over the cutting down of trees in a grove nearby Ingraham High School has finally ended. According to the Stranger Slog, some of the trees were felled today. The district had initially wanted to cut down 50+ trees but it's now down to 27 (and they plan on replacing some trees but not with the same variety). From the Slog:

"There were some verbal protests, but that's about all," Redman, who was supervising the work, said. "Weather permitting, we are going to try to finish cutting all the trees today."

"Ingraham is only a precursor to many more trees being lost," Zemke said in an email. "Unfortunately trees have no standing in Seattle and no voice. Neighbors and others who want to keep our city green with trees must be their voice." Save the Trees is currently working with a group of tree advocates called "Save Our Urban Forest Infrastructure" to create stronger protection for trees and urban forests.

It's sad. Not only for the trees lost (because we are cutting down trees in this city at an alarming rate) but because the district didn't try to do the right thing. The right thing would have been to NOT send the district lawyer to meetings with the neighbors. It would have been good to find a mediator (someone neutral) to guide the discussions. I believe a resolution would have been found sooner. I recall a member of the BEX Oversight Committee asking if this had been done and you should have seen how mystified staff looked. Almost like it hadn't occurred to them.

Don't get me wrong. Ingraham needs this new wing. (Actually it would have been nice if they, like most of the other comprehensives, got a new rebuild.) Their math classes were out in these horrible, cold portables. (I hope the district isn't planning on using those again.) Ingraham deserves a nicer building.

I just wish it could have been handled better so it didn't drag out so long. And, the district could have had the upper hand in saying they had truly done everything they could to work with the neighbors.

2 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

This process was mis-handled at every step. The error, at every step, was hubris. The District acted, unfailingly, with arrogance and belligerence.

Anonymous said...

There are actually 30 more trees to be cut down at Ingraham High School, bringing the total to about 57.

10 Madrones in the Northwest grove will be snagged, which means cut to a height of about 20' tall and left as wildlife habitat. Construction of awnings and the sidewalk will bring down about 20 more trees.

The bit about the new plantings 'replacing' the 120' tall mature conifers is empty rhetoric. We need to eliminate the word 'replace' from our vocabulary when it comes to establishing a new ecosystem where the old environment was removed to accomodate development.

More: www.SaveSeattlesTrees.com

Arboreally yours,

Michael Oxman