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Save the UW Campus Trees ! Comment on the 2018 Campus Master Plan

This petition had 237 supporters

We protest the proposed exemption of the UW from requirements of the City of Seattle Tree Ordinance in the 2018 Campus Master Plan (CMP). There is no enforceable policy, beyond vague intentions, to guarantee protection to Exceptional Trees in the Campus Master Plan.

We request the 2018 Campus Master Plan list which individual trees would be lost to both a) the 10 year building plan, and b) the long range buildout plan.

The UW has a GIS tree map with tree names and values, and has cataloged 8,274 trees of 417 species, of which 644 trees of 70 species are considered Exceptional Trees according to City of Seattle definitions. This map could generate a list of threatened trees for all projects. .

The UW has a long and storied history of removing large numbers of trees, rare and historic trees, and large, mature trees of high quality and aesthetic value, and of doing so without sufficient cause.

The university often cuts trees to accommodate the building architect’s ‘vision', or to make it easier or cheaper to build. Those decisions to remove trees appear to be made in a vacuum, often at odds with the institution’s own plans and goals and with little public notice or input.

Examples include:

A)   In 2016. For a project to replace the dorms at Haggart and McCarty Hall, UW cut down 230 trees, 70 of them considered Exceptional Trees (according to City of Seattle definitions). In part, the UW used an exemption to the Municipal Use Permit to build in a sensitive area, Kincade Ravine. While the UW could have chosen to build taller, thus maintaining the same size footprint and preserving trees, it chose instead to expand outward to lessen cost of construction.

B)   In 2003, for the New Law School Buildings, 24 different species of trees were cut, including the biggest American Beech in the City of Seattle, the biggest Chinese Chestnut in the City of Seattle, and the biggest Himalayan White Pine on the UW campus, and a rare Pindrow Fir.

These are two of a long list of other unnecessary tree removals going back 30 years.  Taken together they constitute a pattern disregard for The UW’s own environmental heritage.

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