Stakeholder Committee Stacked with anti-Poplar representatives
Five of the nine hand-picked committee members are already on record to cut down the poplars: Jennifer Rotermund, Ron Sikes, Forest Shomer, Steve Mader, and Russell Hill.
We Love our Poplars
Gateway Poplar Alliance
Consider joining with the GPA to stop the City and Port of Port Townsend from destroying the tree-lined entrance to Port Townsend. Their stated objectives can be met with no tree cutting, yet they are impervious to altering course. Why? Their actions indicate only one option - the courts.
Who We Are
We are people in this community who are offended by a decree issued by the City and Port of Port Townsend, and Jefferson PUD. We learned by chance from newspaper articles that the poplars along Sims Way are to be cut down; removed on both sides of the highway; a highway with over 10,000 vehicles trips on an average day.
This project is driven by a grant these three agencies applied for, it appears, a team-building exercise. The key condition for this infrastructure tax money is economic growth and jobs. The Port and PUD are able to demonstrate that goal. However the City can find no legitimate justification for cutting down the trees on the north side.
We have demonstrated that the poplars are not a problem. Contrary to the original impetus for the project...and which now the PUD admits...the PUD can trench the powerline without cutting down these Gateway trees. In addition, the Port can expand and achieve its original goal to park boats up to 65' here.
Problem Solved. Both stated objectives can be achieved. Why is there still a project to cut down the poplars on both sides?
The Sims Way proposal, unless it is amended in response to significant community outcry, will change the face of this historic seaport--an outcome never intended by this community.
We hired a forester to help determine the condition of the 60 poplars along the boatyard. They are of varying ages and are NOT “at the end of their useful lives” as the agencies claim. The City couldn’t possibly know the facts on the ground as it has not maintained or groomed the trees - possibly ever, nor have park volunteers or the Parks committee.
We were unsuccessful getting a straight answer as to when the poplars (possibly madronas) would be cut; the end to the Gateway as we know it. They originally said this was to happen with no public review and no consideration of other options. (We met with the Port on Dec 17, followed up with emails, but have never heard back. We have invited councilmembers to meet on site - only two accepted. We invited a Port Commissioner to attend one of those meetings - no response. See our letter to Council below)
Now they have formed a Stakeholder Committee, hand picked with a majority of people already on record to cut down the poplars, to give what appears to be a veneer of public involvement to the process. The Parks Board Chair is also a member of the Admiralty Audubon management. Both the Parks Board and Admiral Audubon are on record to cut down our legacy Gateway Street Trees. The Parks Board chose 4 of the 9 Stakeholder Committee members.
This rash proposal, to rapidly remove the poplars...planted and replanted along Sims Way for almost 100 years, is fraught with misinformation and deception.
We expose the deception on the AGENCY DECEPTION page, in the Misinformation Matrix, and in the True or False? Quiz.
Sunset as we placed the hearts on the poplars
Poplars outline a dusky sky
These trees are full of life - and these agencies will destroy it over the course of a few days
The Poplars - A Legacy Worth Defending
These trees are embedded in the overarching vision and intent of many adopted documents and policies including the Comprehensive Plan, the Gateway Development Plan, the Parks Functional Plan and more.
It's fair to say that the level of misinformation and deception are noteworthy.
Poplars have lined Sims way for almost 100 years
It seems likely that poplars were chosen and planted in the 30s because of how effective they were during the dust bowl era to filter dust and act as windbreaks from the prevailing winds. This photo is before the 1963 Port & Corps project that dumped 231,000 cy of dredge spoils into Kah Tai tidal estuary that killed the poplars. Replanted In the 1970s.
Poplars in the 1950s
The poplars were planted in the 1930s by the Chamber of Commerce. Some pro-cut the poplars down folks say that if those people knew what we know today, they would never have planted poplars. They must have a crystal ball to get into dead peoples' minds...?
Unofficial City Tree
The poplars are threaded through the Port Townsend landscape. One could argue they are the unofficial city tree, acting as wind breaks, filtering contaminated stormwater, and providing habitat.
Poplars, planted and replanted on Sims Way for decades, are some of Port Townsend's longest residents; they are etched in many people's association with Port Townsend.
There's another world beneath the established trees we neither completely understand or appreciate.