Until the fate of Seattle City Light‘s surplus ex-substations is decided, tree-cutting in the name of “cleanups” must stop, says the West Seattle Green Space Coalition.
Two weeks ago, a reader tip led us to report on tree-cutting at one of those sites, the former Andover substation at 21st/Andover. Reader comments also revealed something similar at the Dumar ex-substation, 16th/Holden. The WSGSC has put together before/after views of both sites. First, Pigeon Point:
City Light told us the tree-cutting had to do with cleaning up contamination and that at least three other sites were slated for cleanup work. The Pigeon Point specifics are in our December story; regarding Dumar, SCL’s Lynn Best told us, “This is similar to the other site, Andover. The pesticides dieldrin and DDT were found at levels above (Model Toxics Control Act) cleanup levels. PCB levels below MTCA cleanup levels were found around the concrete pad. The vegetation removal was done in preparation for the cleanup.”
Here’s the news release from the WSGSC:
Ignoring neighborhood and West Seattle Green Space Coalition requests, and apparently without a directive from the Seattle City Council, in mid-December, Seattle City Light chopped down all the trees at the Pigeon Point former substation site and the Dumar former substation site.
West Seattle Green Space Coalition is demanding that Seattle City Light halt removal of plants and trees at its former substations in West Seattle. These sites contain mature vegetation, including significant trees, which are important to healthy neighborhoods. Established, green spaces are being destroyed with no plan to balance out the loss of these green spaces. Although these are only a few small parcels in West Seattle, they have been open, green habitat. The destruction of these longstanding spaces is detrimental to West Seattle. These sites are providing a small but significant balance to major high density development which is taking place in West Seattle.
On October 15, 2013, West Seattle Green Space Coalition (WSGSC) sent a letter and a petition containing more than 600 signatures to Seattle City Council and Seattle City Light (SCL) requesting a halt to any action leading to disposal of the six surplus and inactive Seattle City Light West Seattle Substations:
Former Andover Substation (2100 SW Andover St.) (Pigeon Point)
Former Dakota Substation (4918 SW Dakota St.)
Former Delridge Substation (5601 23rd Ave. SW)
Former Dumar Substation (1605 SW Holden St.)
Former Fauntleroy Substation (4520 Brace Point Dr.)
Former White Center Substation (8820 9th Ave. SW)
Previously, the City Council had requested that Seattle City Light prepare a report about possible future disposition of these properties. A report is expected from SCL in Winter 2014 to outline possible steps.
In response, neighborhood groups organized and met with Seattle City Light to discuss potential future uses of these properties which would benefit the surrounding neighborhoods and the City at large. At public meetings, many neighbors demanded that these sites be kept as green spaces to balance out the high density development which is taking place in West Seattle.
• WSGSC states that the removal of trees was premature and unnecessary. Although SCL asserts that there is contamination at the sites which would need to be removed prior to sale of the properties, WSGSC says that (1) the removal of plants and trees is premature as SCL has not yet issued its report, and the City Council has not even authorized any sale of the properties, and (2) there are environmentally-sensitive ways to remove contamination without large-scale destruction of plants and trees.
• WSGSC requests that the City Council and SCL immediately stop the removal of trees and plants at each of the surplus substation sites. Until a future plan is developed for these sites, it is premature to destroy the vegetation. The trees and plants are currently providing habitat for wildlife, providing oxygen and cleaning our air, and contributing to quality of life.
• WSGSC also requests that Seattle City Council form an advisory Neighborhoods Commission on Seattle City Light West Seattle Substations (including neighborhood representatives) to develop plans and secure funding for future uses of the sites.
• WSGSC is not aware of Seattle City Light having conducted an environmental assessment of the impact its actions at the seven surplus sites will take. If there is such an environmental assessment report, it should be made public.
• WSGSC demands that removal of trees and plants at the sites, and any possible disposition of the sites, be conducted only after a thorough independent analysis of the environmental impacts is conducted.
We will be following up again with City Light tomorrow. We had already been reviewing the soil-analysis reports they provided at our request.