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Photos courtesy Nancy Tosta

On Tuesday night, Nov. 1, the Port of Seattle held a Community Meeting and Open House on its proposed Flight Corridor Safety Program, which is intended to remove around 3,000 trees at and around Sea-Tac Airport. Well over 100 people attended the event, which was held at Bow Lake Elementary School in SeaTac. In addition to the overflowing crowd of concerned citizens, Port Commissioners present included Tom Albro, John Creighton, Courtney Gregoire and Fred Felleman. The port had various display stations with details about the project, its connection with FAA regulations, as well as the intention to plant new trees and shrubs. Port representatives were at each display, answering questions from interested – and often passionate – attendees. A public comment section allowed residents to speak their minds, oftentimes with passion. According to Burien Councilmember Nancy Tosta:
There were approximately 50 people offering comments (a couple hundred attending). Concerns were raised about noise, cutting trees on private property with lack of compensation, possibilities for topping rather than cutting trees down, mitigation plans that result in planting trees in other areas. Port Commissioners said they understand there is a lack of trust, ever since 3rd runway decision. They said there would be a transcript and answers to questions on their website. Debi Wagner and Larry Cripe were there through the meeting as well, as was Tina Orwell. I asked that Commissioners provide leadership in the region by recognizing the need for and working towards a second international airport.
Packed house attends Port of Seattle meeting on Flight Corridor Program 1 The program plans to roll out this program in three phases based on location, as follows:
  • 2016 – Phase 1: Port properties (estimated 1,200 trees)
  • 2017 – Phase 2: Publicly-owned properties (est. 1,400 with 1,200 on WSDOT property, many for future Hwy 509)
  • 2018 – Phase 3: Residential properties (est. 180), commercial properties (est. 200)
More than 4,000 native, low-height trees will be planted by the Port in the first phase of the three year program to replace approximately 1,200 trees on Port property. Overall, the program has identified approximately 2,800 trees to be removed in the three phases based on location:
  • 1,200 trees on Port property
  • 1,400 on publicly owned or commercial properties (about 1,200 on Washington State Department of Transportation property, many on land set aside for future Hwy 509 expansion)
  • An estimated 180 trees on residential properties. Trees on residential properties will not be affected until 2018. Each resident will be contacted and offered a number of alternatives to choose from to best meet their needs.
pos_sita_station3_phase_i_port_prop For more information and Frequently Asked Questions on the program, visit the project webpage here or visit www.portseattle.org/safecorridor. “Thanks to the Port for holding the meeting,” Burien Councilmember Nancy Tosta said. “Port says FAA requires tree removal in the name of safety, but most residents are skeptical and believe it is part of an ongoing pattern of airport expansion that degrades neighborhoods. Tell the Port your thoughts!” If you have questions or thoughts about this program, you are encouraged to email the Port at [email protected].]]>