After Long Court Battle, Ingraham High School Trees Finally Come Down Today

posted by RIYA BHATTACHARJEE on FRI, JAN 28, 2011 at 10:16 AM



The trees finally come down at Ingraham.
  • R.B.
  • The trees finally come down at Ingraham.
The Seattle school district started cutting down a grove of trees at Ingraham High School at 8:30 a.m. today, even as a group of environmentalists protested against it. The tree removal came more than two months after a King County Superior Court Judge lifted an injunction to stop it, clearing the way for the construction of a classroom building. Judge Theresa Doyle ruled that local environmentalist group Save the Trees—who filed a lawsuit against the district to stop more than 70 trees from being razed two years ago—had failed to prove that the district had violated environmental laws.


Ingraham High School Trees to "Scream" on Friday!

The Seattle School District is going to cut down 27 trees tomorrow Friday Jan 28, 2011 (about one quarter of the NW Grove) at Ingraham High School. For several days the School District has been assembling equipment and preparing to cut down the trees. Tomorrow students have the day off.

Tonight just before dark I went over to check things out once again and asked a worker in a hardhat when they were going to cut the trees down.  His response was that "tomorrow the trees would be screaming". It's strange but I could not think of a more apt response for the trees.

If Seattle Mayor McGinn has his way, no trees in Seattle will be protected from destruction. Ingraham is only a precursor to many more trees being lost because Mayor McGinn is proposing to deregulate all tree protection in the city. Strange that someone who supposedly ran with a label as an environmentalist has no love for protecting Seattle's green infrastructure. When we tried to talk to McGinn and his staff about saving the Ingraham trees he choose to ignore us and wouldn't even schedule an opportunity for us to discuss the situation with him.



http://www.saveseattlestrees.com/         PRESS and Blogs below story.

  For more Information contact:  Steve Zemke  206-366-0811 (home)  206-999-6095 (cell)


Seattle Times Editorial : Sept 11, 08. Cut out the loophole: Mayor Greg Nickels' tree-cutting proposal closes a cut first, seek forgiveness later loophole in city code.    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2008171989_trees11.html

August 27, 2008    Seattle School District Violates Court Injunction

On Monday Judge Erlick of the King County Superior Court ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs Save the Trees – Seattle  and put in place an Injunction to prevent  the Seattle School District from cutting the trees or destroying the habitat in the grove of trees on the West side of Ingraham High School.  This afternoon, a contractor for the Seattle School District drove into the center of the grove and commenced putting up another fence in the proposed construction area. Using an air hammer the contractor started driving steel posts into the ground.

This action was in direct violation of Judge Erlick’s ruling that the trees and habitat were to be preserved and protected while the Seattle School District resubmitted its construction permit application to the City of Seattle.  Steve Zemke of Save the Trees – Seattle called the police and contacted their attorney, Keith Scully, of Gendler and Mann, who contacted Ron English, Attorney for the Seattle School District who contacted MidMountain Contractors who called their employee to stop any further work. 

The truck was driven out of the grove a short while later. The call to the police was cancelled as they had not yet shown up. Tree Solutions and other consultants have advised the Seattle School District to keep trucks out of the trees because they damage the tree roots and affect the survivability of the trees.  The Seattle School District continues to ignore this advice and the court order prohibiting damage to the tree grove until the environmental review process is completed.

 Why was the Seattle School District not able to obey the court order and inform all contractors of the Injunction prohibiting any activities which would harm or destroy the trees or the habitat of the groove?  The Project manager at Ingraham is John McWilliams and he should be held responsible along with Don Gilmore who is in charge of the BEX program.

John McWilliams and Don Gilmore were both present in Judge Erlick’s courtroom on Monday when Judge Erlick ruled.  Did they not understand what the Judge said?  As Project Manager for the Ingraham Project isn’t McWilliams responsible for what the contractors do?  Or is this just going to be called another one of those “mistakes” or “miscommunications” and brushed aside?

Contactors working at Denny Sealth in West Seattle recently cut down trees and bulldozed an area along Long Fellow Creek on the Sealth campus at the same time an appeal was underway before a Seattle School District Hearing Examiner.  This action destroying that habitat made that part of the appeal mute and resulted in the Hearing Examiner saying the School District needed to up the loss of trees there from 25 to 35 to reflect that action.  The actual result was contrary to a statement by Seattle School Board member Peter Maier who was seen on television  saying that a few trees were nicked was all that happened.

Save the Trees!, representing the neighbors and community around Ingraham High School, has been granted a temporary restraining order to halt the cutting of 68 trees in the West Grove. This action became necessary when the Seattle School District withdrew their construction permits, trying to avoid further environmental review of their project by the City of Seattle. They believed they could then just cut down the trees and then reapply for a new permit.

The Seattle School District wanted to prevent further judicial review by those who believe the trees don’t have to be cut. Our position is that the District can build the project on the open lawn area on the North side of the school without cutting down any large trees.   We can have both the educational benefits of a renovated school and the environmental benefits of a healthy urban forest and park. It is not an either or situation but a choice to have both.

Save the Trees! needs your help to continue their battle. Neighbors and some of you getting this letter have already helped us raise a $7500 bond or the trees would have been cut down.  Thank you for your timely help. Now we now need to raise another $25,000 to continue the legal battle.

 If you want to see both trees and education coexist in our neighborhood and city, please send  a generous check  to Save the Trees!. Please include your e-mail so we can keep you updated.  Thanks for helping!

Send your check today to:    Save the Trees!     c/o Steve Zemke, 2131 N 132nd St, Seattle, WA 9813


Aug 26 District still can't see forest for the trees http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2008140207_treesed27.html

Aug 25 Judge delays district's plan to cut down 100 trees at Ingraham High http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008137606_webtrees25m.html

Aug 25 Tree huggers win at Ingraham High School http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/147052.asp 

Judge prohibits School District from cutting Ingraham High trees   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/374851_trees14.html

Judge halts tree cutting near Ingraham High School   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008112745_trees14m.html
Plan to cut 100 trees at Ingraham High Draws protestors   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008101880_ingraham09m.html
Group Protests School Districts plans to cut down trees at Ingraham   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008100292_webingraham08m.html
Dateline earth: Seattle schools to cut down Ingraham trees   http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/145622.asp
Judge blocks tree cutting at Ingraham    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008111148_webtrees13m.html
Group sues to keep trees from being cut down near Ingraham High School   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008109946_trees13m.html
Seattle schools blasted for tree cutdown plan http://www.king5.com/education/stories/NW_080808WAB_seattle_school_tree_controversy_TP.2a35ef0b.html

Local Debate keeps growing over how to protect trees   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/375510_tree19.html
Letter: Cutting Trees     http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/375173_webltrs18.html
Loss looms in Seattle's Urban Forest   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/375338_firstperson18.html
Seattle's tree scape Withold the ax   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/374503_treesed.html
Dstrict to chop nearly 70 trees at high.   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/374217_trees09.html
letter: Tree trouble   http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2008116721_satletters16.html
Letter: Schools and Trees   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/374492_webltrs12.html
A Growing Contradiction at Ingraham High   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/356974_ingraham29.html
Neighbors near Ingraham High School fight to save Evergreens    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004298006_webtrees21m.html

Neighbors livid over school district's tree-cutting plan  http://www.komonews.com/news/local/26442089.html

Emphasizing the "public" in Seattle Public Schools http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2008122640_skulsed19.html

Ron Sims, lawmakers want school trees saved  http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/136142.asp


Judge's verdict. http://unvain.blogspot.com/2008/08/save-trees-verdict.html