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Tree Butchering on Stadium Way

· Posted Wednesday April 16, 2008 by jamie

I got a report and some pictures from Claudia that some of the trees along Stadium Way had fallen victim to something of a hatchet job.

Seems we’re perhaps seeing the reverse of the latest from the old Mattson Mansion site there, neighbors are complaining about the new trees being planted by historical destructionist and future McMansion resident Eric Russell. Here, the millionaires appear to be taking the trees down.

I believe these trees are location on public land. I think it also is worth mentioning that the Mayor’s “Green Ribbon” task force also set a goal of planting 200,000 new trees in the city to combat global warming.

Now, I will admit out front that I don’t know all of the details of what happened here closely, but Claudia’s contact at the city suggested that property owners were most likely able to get a permit to cut the trees, possibly in part because view properties are more highly taxed. (The only problem being that the Granville is subject to the 10 year tax abatement for downtown, multi-unit buildings.)

Pull it all together, and here’s what I find troubling:

I hope that I’m just jumping to conclusions, that this is all a big misunderstanding, that somehow there’s a valid reason beyond selfishness that these trees were cut down. But it’s hard to understand how in any world the public good should come after the individual good, why we should be allowing trees to get uglied all up while we’re saying we want more of them… And if it really is about selfishness, I hope we can find ways to keep it from happening next time, and the time after, and…


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Comments:

  1. Trees are a huge contention in Tacoma and in alot of cities.

    Each side is claiming the higher moral ground ground.

    With the old Mattson Mansion site, all of the neighbors claimed they were being victimized by the owner who was planting large trees to block their view.

    So is it more moral to plant or cut trees.

    Then it breaks down into species and what is native and not native trees and which trees should be cut down.

    As for the Granville, I think its still pretty much pretty empty. However, it is far better environmentally that they agreed to live in 5 stacked boxed on Broadway downtown than each on 5 acre parcels in the suburbs in Pierce County or in Canterwood.

    Erik B.    Apr 16, 01:33 AM    #
  2. Then it breaks down into species and what is native and not native trees and which trees should be cut down.

    I believe these were some variety of big-leaf maple.

    ...It is far better environmentally that they agreed to live in 5 stacked boxed on Broadway downtown than each on 5 acre parcels in the suburbs in Pierce County or in Canterwood.

    Are you suggesting some sort of carbon trading scheme here? Live in a multi-unit building, get to cut down some trees?

    I guess I’m not specifically going after the Granville here (and the Russell deal is just a issue between neighbors), I’m just concerned about policies that allow trees in the public right-of-way to suddenly be cut down at the behest of individuals.

    jamie    Apr 16, 08:41 AM    #
  3. This is not at all a question about what’s better – plant a treee or cut one down.
    This is about the willful destruction of public property. Say I don’t like flood lights from a nearby sport field. Do I get to shoot them out? If I don’t like traffic going by on my street to I get to place barriers an stop every car? Hey -I pay taxes!
    The trees cut in half are in public open space. I am that public – and so are you. Why on earth would the city allow some individuals to go in there and destroy the trees? I have spent plenty hours weeding and working and inventoring areas like that one.
    The folks at the Granville do not even pay taxes for 10 years – view or not.
    I find it sad and strange that at this day and age people still do not see the connection between air quality and trees – between the quality of urban life and trees.
    Have a look around at the Tacoma urban forest. It pretty much compares negativly to other cities.
    The city needs to be a much better steward of the lands that belong to us. But as long as we don’t care why would the city?

    — Claudia    Apr 16, 06:35 PM    #
  4. I had the same questions when I saw the cutting going on. It turns out Hunter’s Tree Service has a 5-yr vegetation management plan approved by the City (Permit no. 600000-11886). As this is year two, you’ll note the lack of invasives on the trees in your picture and on the ground under them. I’m guessing the clean-up of the area was one of the primary trade-offs.

    Under this plan they pulled the work permit specific to the cutting that began on 4/11 (permit last five: -19261). This does not mean the work was necessarily done in accordance with the plan/permits, but that would be your starting point for looking into it.

    As for how they look today, that is a whole other issue. Some might justify the topping to force lower branching, but that’s a pretty hard line. I’d suggest checking the plan to see what the long term goal is and how they proposed to get there.

    — DavidS    Apr 19, 11:01 AM    #