Admiralty Audubon vs Port Townsend's Poplars
150 Street Trees – In Need of Advocates to protect them from the Audubon Society
Port Townsend— June 10, 2022 — The Gateway Poplar Alliance has actively protested against the unjustified removal of the Sims Way Gateway Poplars, and advocated for a win-win solution that meets the Port’s boatyard expansion goal and keeps the poplars, on the south side of Sims Way. The removal of the poplars on the north side of Sims Way, along Kah Tai Park, was for many residents and members of the Gateway Poplar Alliance, a mystery.
It is a mystery no longer.
As a result of extensive research, public records requests, meeting attendance and review of meeting minutes, it is clear to the Gateway Poplar Alliance, and others, that Admiralty Audubon is the driver behind the removal of the Sims Way poplars on the north side, and supports their removal on the south side. According to the Gateway Poplar Alliance’s Andrea Hegland, “The Port Townsend community should be aware of the leadership role that Admiralty Audubon has taken in the removal of these beloved community trees which are also habitat for resident and migratory birds.”
***BREAKING NEWS February 2022***
Gateway Poplar Alliance Proposes Win-Win Solution
We sent this to the Port in DECEMBER, and all other agencies in FEBRUARY. This solution meets all of their stated objectives. Why are they still proposing to cut down the poplars??
We ask the Port & PUD to stand down their chainsaws for a win-win solution
Consider the impetus for this project: the Port desire to gain 20’ in the row parallel to Sims Way. This concept illustrates that the Port and PUD can achieve their stated objectives without cutting down a single tree.!
Immediate gain of 9' within the existing fenceline
The port could realize an immediate gain of almost 9' by using the wasted space illustrated in this photo. Here you can see that the power poles are closer to the boatyard than the trees, showing that the true constraint is the mandatory equipment distance from the powerline, which is on Port property.
Additional 11' gain - no chainsaw necessary.
This cone is 20' from the edge of boatyard gravel and in the same alignment as two existing trenches that prove trenching won't kill the poplars. Angle this row; bowsprits could extend over a new fence, with a total gain of more than 25'. Problem Solved!
More Breaking News
March 2022. We just learned these agencies pitched the removal of our poplars to "improve tourism" to Jefferson County grant board.
The Valentine caper, what became the purloined poplar heart petitions (see more info below), had, in just a few hours, garnered numerous names and comments, to retain the architectural and historic 150+ poplars along Sims Way.
But it turns out no amount of public comment to any electeds can bring a change to this ill conceived project unless it is abandoned and resubmitted. And here is why. This plan was conceived in Aug 2021 by the City, Port and PUD staff. In Sept 2021 the City staff presented a $100,000 Public Infrastructure Fund (PIF) grant proposal to the City Council which approved it. The three agencies then went to the County in Oct '21 combining their PIF grant requests totaling ~$2M in “free” County infrastructure tax money; the County committee granted them $1M. But that money was based on and limited by conditions outlined in the scope the staff had written - the removal of all the poplars.
This week PUD manager Streett indicated the utility lines could be undergrounded without removing the poplars, but the PUD would lose its share of the grant if it did not follow the original grant conditions, removing the poplars; same for the City. The Port would retain its share for the expansion - no trees involved.
What we just learned is that part of the rationale for the original $1M grant was to promote tourism. Really. Removing the poplars and putting in a sidewalk was, said County administrator McCauly, considered an economic benefit by the granting authority - a way to promote tourism. We're not making this up. What we know as the historic seaport with its iconic poplar-lined entrance of the last 100 years has been determined to not be tourist friendly.
To access the PIF grant and retain the poplars the agencies must submit a new proposal to the County demonstrating support for jobs and the economy, leaving the poplars in place - a truly beautiful gateway for the future.
Valentines for the Poplars 2022
We gathered signatures on hearts at the Co-op, then tied 75 hearts to the poplars on Sims Way, with crayons for people to sign. Our plan was to deliver these to Council on Monday, Valentines Day, Feb 14.
We collected signatures and sentiments on hearts at the Co-op entrance
We securely tied 75 signed and blank hearts, with crayons attached, on the targeted poplars on both sides of Sims Way...to be retrieved Sunday afternoon
Hearts were distributed to a few businesses to also collect sentiments or signature
We went to retrieve the hearts Sunday- they were gone. Some people cut the hearts down, said it was a stupid idea and not how to do a petition. We would like our hearts back please.