RANT — Cutting down trees

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    I would like to know why West Seattlites seemed to be obsessed with cutting down trees. It definitely seems to be specific to this area of the city, since ‘born and raised’ persons seem to be the worst offenders. I’ve lived in other areas of the city (Capitol Hill) and didn’t feel the anger directed at trees that I seem to feel all the time in West Seattle. People in Capitol Hill seemed able to acknowledge that the trees were there long before they were and found a way to coexist with them.

    However, many parts of West Seattle appear almost as if they’ve been clear cut. If people are so anti-tree, why don’t we just invite Weyerhaeuser over here and let them finish the job. Get rid of all Cedars and Doug Firs. No more limbs falling on cars or powerlines. No more needing to rake up the ‘mess’ of these dirty trees. No more blocked sunlight. No more obstruction of views. Wouldn’t that be fantastic!

    Maybe if we cut down all the large trees in West Seattle I’ll forget that I moved here from Minneapolis. Actually, people there would actually plant trees if they had to cut any down. I have neighbors who cut down all 5 trees in their backyard and didn’t plant a damn thing. And now others want to follow suit, getting rid of the last two Cedars on the block. What is it with you people?!



    I feel your pain.

    We have tall trees and hedges around our house (unfortunately not evergreens, those were gone long ago) and love the birds, the privacy, etc.

    The house behind us turns over every few years. It’s a huge McMansion built on what was apparently this house’s backyard way back when.

    Our greenery (which in part gives us a tiny bit of privacy from the windows that otherwise peer right down into our house) now apparently blocks the second-floor deck so every time the house sells, the new owners pad over to say “Cut the hedge, will you?” We say very politely, no, and then they never speak to us again. Even when we explain two things (1) there are all sorts of trees and hedges across the street that block “our” view and we would never DREAM of asking those people to cut their greenery because we think the city needs more trees, and (2) they should be happy we are still here in our modest single-story bungalow because someday, whoever owns it next will almost assuredly tear it down for a 35′ McMansion that will block ALL of their view.



    I sold my house on Genessee Hill in 1997. It was, according to records, Shank’s Orchard View Addition. I had 3 lots, 3 apple trees, 2 plum trees, a cherry tree, a pear tree, and a beautiful doug fir in the back yard…and the most glorious hemlock in the front, planted by my daughter on Arbor Day in the 3rd grade. The Hemlock went within 2 weeks of me moving out…I was heartbroken. Now…there isn’t one tree in that yard, front or back. The neighbor tells me there’s just a “sandpit” in the back for kids to play in. It was a beautiful yard…now bare…I don’t get it. This is the Pacific Northwest…they were here before us..and with proper care, can outlast us..



    JanS – That makes me so sad for you. You must be heartbroken whenever you drive by. I am sorry.



    Well, I live near Alki and yes there are a few trees in my view corridor. I have even contributed money to trimming a particularly large tree (that was a mistake because it was way too vital to give up after that.) But I was willing to pay, and the neighbor was willing to accept the money. Fair deal in my book.

    Now cutting down other’s trees without permission–that is wrong, especially when combined with trespass. That should be prosecuted if proof is found–sadly while it might be obvious who benefits, no one is generally caught. I could cite actual examples, but shame is rarely successful since I sure they justify their actions in some way.

    Lastly, when I planted a maple in my front yard, I apologized to the neighbor in the view-line who would be affected saying it would reach 25 feet in 50 years…long after both of us are worm food or ash. But I did take into account that I might affect his view when buying that tree. Hopefully it will brighten up the front yard–Japanese maples are very graceful.

    So I see both sides to the argument since my view is one of the things I value, but so are property rights, and if one wants to plant a laurel bush in anothers view corridor (assuming it is not for simple privacy, which is understandable), it is their right, but I would think that it is a matter for negotiation, not vandalism.




    I always enjoy a view *more* when there’s a tree or two (or more!) in the foreground. I don’t understand why people have trouble appreciating views of the non-fishtank variety. Keep the privacy and the view and you’ll enjoy both!



    Amen, Keith! We are lucky to have several 20-30 year old Douglas Firs in our yard, and the previous neighbor behind us several times offered money to cut them down so they would no longer obscure the view–especially when they put the house up for sale, figuring they would get more money for an “improved” view. Funny thing is, from the neighbors’ window the trees framed the view very nicely and in fact blocked the telephone poles that would otherwise have been in their view. I’m glad we kept our trees–and so are the wrens, jays, bushtits, flickers, sparrows, chickadees, finches, siskins, thrushes, squirrels and raccoons that share them with us.

    It does make me sad, though, when I see a young tree planted in a place where it will soon become a problem because of proximity to structures or wires. Please, if you’re going to plant a tree, do your research and make sure you’re putting the right tree in the right place, so it has a chance to stay there for a good long time.



    The obvious reason in many cases is view, view, view. When I lived in Bellevue you needed permits from the city to remove trees from your lot. I owned an acre view lot at the summit of Cougar Mountain (Lakemont) and with permits in hand I removed trees that enhanced my view of Lake Sammamish and the value of my estate. I was within my rights and performed the clearing on “my” property. The value of the lot increased by nearly twice. Today a 2.5 million dollar home rests comfortably on the site…

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