The right tree in the right place | Guest View Edmonds

By Diane Buckshnis | Apr 12, 2019
Diane Buckshnis

The Citizens Tree Board is no longer responsible for writing code or policy, contrary to what some people still believe.

Granted, when first created in 2011, one of its goals was a tree ordinance, as it fell under Edmonds’ legislative branch. We all know how gravely awry the tree ordinance process went, and how poorly citizens thought of the Tree Board after this complete misfire.

Since 2015, the Tree Board is now housed in Development Services Director Shane Hope’s department, and the Tree Board ordinance was updated to remove any code-writing requirements.

In 2015, I became the council liaison, and our group has participated in many educational and fun projects, while the board has ingratiated itself into the community.

Board members have worked with various groups throughout the community like the Students Saving Salmon, Holy Rosary Church, Edmonds Garden Club, Edmonds in Bloom, Boy Scouts, Earthworks, Sound Salmon Solutions and many more.

As a Tree City USA requirement, the Tree Board works side by side with the Parks Department’s Rich Lindsay and crew for our Arbor Day tree-planting event.

Three years ago, the City asked the Tree Board to participate in an ivy-pull event on Earth Day and, this year, it returns April 20 at City Park.

The Tree Board has created a new logo to promote its mantra of “Right Tree – Right Place.” Two educational brochures have been created, tree fact-sheet identifiers show up yearly, and wonderful tree articles have been written and posted to local media so as to allow folks a better understanding of the characteristics of trees.

The city’s farmers’ markets have been a big hit as we raffle off trees and board members give free advice, since we have three master gardeners on the team. If you have a chance, take a look at the Tree Board’s 2018 year-in-review report to City Council on March 19.

I think you will see a great group of smart and energetic citizens.

In regard to codes or policy, Tree Board members or citizens have the right to provide detailed input to City Council regarding any issues relating to trees. Councilmembers read a lot of detailed comments regarding the poorly crafted Urban Forest Management Program from Davey’s Resource Group.

To date, the contractor had not implemented significant changes (i.e., considering view areas and non-view areas or developer incentives, etc.) and it is now in the administration's purview.

Sadly, the entire process has been incredibly slow, as this is the third year that council has been waiting for this important document. More and more citizens continue to complain about “pocket forests” being clear-cut by developers, and the City Council has yet to see any sufficient codes to protect our trees except if the tree is in a critical area.

These codes updates and rewrites are pending completion of management plan that, finally, Hope is bringing forth shortly.

So, in summary, let’s all give our Tree Board members a hand for the great work they have done and remember any codes issues fall upon the administration and, eventually, councilmembers.

Diane Buckshnis is the Edmonds City Council liaison to the Citizens Tree Board.



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