Dear Everyone!

Please help again to prevent further destruction of Garry oak trees in Lakewood, this time at the Qwest property on 111th Street SW, just beyond the Clover Park Shops and next to the (former) Key Antiques building. There are eleven (possibly more, it isn't clear from the survey drawing) Garry oaks that are in danger there, and just last week nine of sixteen oaks were cut down at the venerable Key Antiques building by its new owner.

You can see the trees along the left side of this image, a narrow strip on the left of the Qwest building (with red marker) and the Key Antiques building, between 111th and Gravelly Lake Drive:

qwest.png

Below you will find a sample letter you may use and modify as you see fit.

Please send it to the following people, let us know when you have so we can keep track of who is sending letters, and be sure to get a receipt before the deadline at 5pm Monday, July 5 (despite it being a holiday?):

[email protected]

[email protected]

............................................................................

July 5, 2021

To Whom it May Concern,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on short plat application LU-21-00101 Qwest Short Plat, which relates to the property at 6330 111th Street SW in Lakewood. Please include me as a party of record.

My name is _____________________. I am a current resident of Lakewood.

I strongly oppose the subdivision of this property into two smaller lots, as its further development would surely endanger the 11 or more Garry oak trees that are growing on this property. I urge you to forbid any further destruction of Garry oak trees in Lakewood, including these 11 or more Garry oaks (according to the survey that was submitted as part of this application).

Immediately adjacent to the Qwest property, nine of the sixteen Garry oaks on the former Key Antiques lot were cut down just last week. The City of Lakewood did issue a permit for the destruction of these trees, despite the fact that there was a group of Garry oaks on the adjacent properties.

If the Qwest property is developed, it must be done around the oaks, as is done in other jurisdictions, such as Oak Harbor. I urge you not to allow the destruction of any more Garry oak trees at the 111th Street SW property, or elsewhere in Lakewood.

Even if the commercial property still needs a permit, the city of Lakewood's habit of issuing dozens of permits every year (as per Courtney Brunell) means that any Garry oak in Lakewood is in danger. Twenty-nine or 27 permits a year (as she verified for the past two years), over the course of a decade, would result in the destruction of hundreds of Garry oaks — even if it is only one tree destroyed per permit. The illegal felling of Garry oaks of course guarantees an even higher number. Similarly, fines can not bring back mature Garry oaks that have been destroyed.

By contrast, please note that the City of Oak Harbor, Washington, issues on average zero permits per year to cut down Garry oaks in that jurisdiction. (As per email correspondence with Vice President of Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society.)

It in fact does not matter whether a Garry oak is cut down with or without a permit, or whether or not a fine is imposed — the result is still the same: Lakewood's truly precious trees, canopy cover, sequestration and beauty are being destroyed, one tree at a time.

These oaks ought surely to be protected as "significant trees" due to their size and the fact that they represent the last remaining 3% of the original Garry oak habitat. This habitat is associated with a myriad of wildlife including threatened and endangered species, including many migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway. The trees at 6330 111th Street SW are part of a single ecosystem and, without them, the whole system would suffer. Animals use the Garry oak trees throughout the area as a wildlife corridor to move from tree to tree, and the property is less than two miles away from JBLM, where endangered and threatened species associated with Garry oak habitat are known to live.

In view of the recent historic and profoundly disturbing heatwave that affected the Pacific Northwest, the City of Lakewood should also do absolutely everything within its power to protect the mature trees that already exist in Lakewood and the crucial canopy cover they provide. The mature trees Lakewood already has represent a treasure, for not only do they make the city a more pleasant place, they perform the essential environmental services of urban heat reduction and carbon sequestration. Garry oaks cannot be replaced by simply planting saplings, for it has been estimated that it takes 150 years for a Garry oak tree to reach maturity.

Please see the New York Times article of July 2, 2021, "What Technology Could Reduce Heat Deaths? Trees,":
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/02/climate/trees-cities-heat-waves.html

This information should propel the City of Lakewood to protect to the greatest extent possible the Garry oaks at the 111th Street property, for proceeding with development there would entail decreased quality for the families who have chosen Lakewood as their home. The residents who have worked so diligently to purchase and maintain their properties deserve to enjoy the benefits that the Garry oak trees provide.

If Lakewood earnestly desires to attract residents, and not just warehouse developers, it is well known that neighborhoods with greater canopy cover are viewed as more desirable places to live. In fact, one could argue that a degradation of tree canopy is associated very closely with degradation of neighborhoods and property values. See June 30, 2021, New York Times article: "Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?":
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/30/opinion/environmental-inequity-trees-critical-infrastructure.html

In summary, the application to subdivide the property at 6330 111th Street SW, Lakewood should be rejected. Strict protections for these oaks and their habitat should be implemented immediately across the board in Lakewood, in all areas, regardless of zoning type. We are the Evergreen State, which is a point of pride for so many Washingtonians including myself. The City ought to act in the spirit of our beautiful State of Washington and maintain the 'wood' in Lakewood. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,