Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park) issued the following statement regarding the illegal removal of over 150 trees in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt:
“On Saturday I asked City Attorney Pete Holmes to join me in visiting the Duwamish Head Greenbelt and saw the land where over 150 trees were illegally removed from Parks and SDOT property. The destruction of the trees saddened me — these trees belong to all of us.
“I have received additional information about the status of the City’s investigation.
“An attorney representing a client sent a letter to the Department of Parks and Recreation in early February disclosing the damage. The attorney, Clayton Graham of Davis Wright Tremaine, has indicated he will disclose who he is representing. However, it appears there may be other parties involved beyond the client represented by Mr. Graham.
“It appears the trees were cut in mid-January. Non-city tree experts believe this is not the first time these trees had been cut.
“I have been assured by the City Attorney that both criminal and civil sanctions are on the table for the responsible parties. The sanctions should be significant enough to deter this kind of activity in the future.
“As the City appraises the value of the trees, I want it taken into account that these trees maintain soil stability in an environmentally critical area by absorbing water, as well as maintain air quality by absorbing carbon — an important issue in West Seattle and South Park, which sit adjacent to industrial lands in SODO and the Duwamish industrial Area.”