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West Seattle Clear Cutting

Posted by Johnine Larsen on March 31, 2016
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UPDATE: a $1.6 million lawsuit was filed in response to the illegal West Seattle tree-cutting; criminal prosecution still possible, City Attorney says.

UPDATE 2: The city reached a $440,000 settlement with the homeowners responsible for the clear-cutting. About $100,000 of the settlement will help fund a youth summer program and a green jobs program that hires young people from economically struggling communities.

 

An overly-selfish homeowner looking for a killer view transformed our West Seattle landscape last week. Transformed it for the worse.

That homeowner illegally cut down 153 trees in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, which is that formerly forested patch overlooking the West Seattle Bridge and SW Admiral Way. That land belongs to the Seattle parks and transportation departments, and besides retaining a piece of this area’s natural, pre-civilization state, those trees (mostly big leaf maples) provided an environmentally crucial role in stabilizing the hillside. Now they’re just a jumble of downed trees.

Seattle Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch said, “restoration will be a challenge, both because of the scope of the damage and because it is such a sensitive and environmentally critical area. Because the situation is so severe, it could take years to get the area back to where it needs to be.”

Good thing someone got their view, right?

A beautiful view matters to a homeowner. We’ve had clients fall in love with a house because it overlooks the Puget Sound, or because you can see twinkling downtown Seattle from the back porch. But to value the view so much that you’d cut down 153 public trees—that’s not okay.

This city only works if we look out for each other. This community only thrives if homeowners don’t chase their whims at the expense of everyone else. Seattle is changing fast, and we’re all figuring out how to keep this city a wonderful place to live as more and more people move into our rapidly-developing home. Keeping our city wonderful requires not just the absence of selfishness—don’t litter, don’t block “the box,” don’t cut down public trees—but the presence of selflessness, as well. We’ll need to respect our neighbors. Support the nonprofits and charities that serve this city. Give back to our community with time, money, and votes.

That’s how we want to do real estate. We don’t want to create a world of isolated homeowners who live in private bubbles and never help one another—we want to create a community. We want to see relationships, care, and support flourish throughout this city.

Seattle doesn’t belong to any one of us—it belongs to all of us.

 

More information about the tree-cutting is available at the West Seattle Blog and The Seattle Times.

 

UPDATE: a $1.6 million lawsuit was filed in response to the illegal West Seattle tree-cutting; criminal prosecution still possible, City Attorney says.

UPDATE 2: The city reached a $440,000 settlement with the homeowners responsible for the clear-cutting. About $100,000 of the settlement will help fund a youth summer program and a green jobs program that hires young people from economically struggling communities.

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