Defenders of North SeaTac Park Community Forest Consensus
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๐‚๐€๐‹๐‹๐ˆ๐๐† ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐„๐Œ๐„๐‘๐†๐„๐๐‚๐˜ ๐€๐‚๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐ ๐€๐๐ƒ ๐‹๐Ž๐๐† ๐“๐„๐‘๐Œ ๐’๐Ž๐‹๐”๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐๐’ ๐๐˜ ๐Ž๐”๐‘ ๐„๐‹๐„๐‚๐“๐„๐ƒ ๐Ž๐…๐…๐ˆ๐‚๐ˆ๐€๐‹๐’ ๐“๐Ž ๐ƒ๐„๐…๐„๐๐ƒ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐‡๐„๐€๐‹๐“๐‡ ๐Ž๐… ๐๐„๐Ž๐๐‹๐„ ๐ˆ๐ ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐๐Ž๐‘๐“๐‡ ๐’๐„๐€๐“๐€๐‚ ๐๐€๐‘๐Š ๐‚๐Ž๐Œ๐Œ๐”๐๐ˆ๐“๐˜ ๐€๐๐ƒ ๐–๐ˆ๐“๐‡๐ˆ๐ ๐“๐„๐ ๐Œ๐ˆ๐‹๐„๐’ ๐Ž๐… ๐’๐„๐€๐“๐€๐‚ ๐ˆ๐๐“๐„๐‘๐๐€๐“๐ˆ๐Ž๐๐€๐‹ ๐€๐ˆ๐‘๐๐Ž๐‘๐“ ๐๐˜ ๐๐‘๐Ž๐“๐„๐‚๐“๐ˆ๐๐† ๐“๐‡๐ˆ๐’ ๐‚๐Ž๐Œ๐Œ๐”๐๐ˆ๐“๐˜'๐’ ๐†๐”๐€๐‘๐ƒ๐ˆ๐€๐ ๐…๐Ž๐‘๐„๐’๐“๐’, ๐–๐€๐“๐„๐‘๐–๐€๐˜๐’, ๐๐€๐‘๐Š๐‹๐€๐๐ƒ๐’, ๐€๐๐ƒ ๐“๐‘๐„๐„๐’.
In order to defend the people in the community surrounding North SeaTac Park, and all people living within the ten-mile community surrounding this airport, from the negative health and climate impacts posed by near-term plans for extensive deforestation as and green space destruction by the Port of Seattle, the current owner and assigned steward of North SeaTac Park, We call for:

๐‹๐ž๐ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ-๐›๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก ๐’๐ž๐š๐“๐š๐œ ๐๐š๐ซ๐ค ๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐๐š๐ซ๐ค ๐ข๐ง ๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฉ๐ž๐ญ๐ฎ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ก๐ข๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง, ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ค, ๐ญ๐จ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ๐จ๐ฉ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ. This may be accomplished by changes in zoning and law, by conservation easement, by transfer or sale of this park land to an appropriate governmental entity, or by a combination of these or other means.

The Port caused the removal by eminent domain of thousands of residents, along with their homes and schools, from the land that this park now occupies. The Port has acknowledged that the creation of the park was โ€œthe culmination of a long term and very open planning process to compensate the areaโ€™s residents for cumulative airport impacts.โ€ (1) This measure would honor that expressed intent of the Port.
๐€๐ง ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ฎ๐ฆ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐›๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐จ๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐’๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž ๐จ๐ง ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐Ÿ ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐’๐ž๐š๐“๐š๐œ ๐ˆ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐€๐ข๐ซ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ with exceptions only for targeted measures to protect public safety or the health of the surrounding natural ecosystem, or to prevent substantial physical damage to existing private or public property, when these objectives cannot be reasonably achieved through other means.

This call for action responds to the recommendation of Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHS&KC) to increase green space and tree coverage, particularly coniferous trees, within ten miles of SeaTac International Airport in order to reduce human exposure to airport-generated pollutants known to cause disease and shorten lives. (2) PHS&KC has found that, with severity increasing as proximity to the airport increases, lifespans in this ten-mile area are between 1.7 and 5 years shorter than in the balance of the county; premature births, low birthweights, and childhood learning problems are more common; and rates of cancer, and heart, respiratory, and cardiovascular disease are significantly higher. (2)

Furthermore, this call is put forth in order to safeguard human health in a community where residents experience high levels of environmental health disparities as measured by the Washington State Department of Health. (3)

Furthermore, this call holds the Port of Seattle and our greater community accountable to the principles of environmental justice required under Presidential Executive Order 12898 and US Department of Transportation Order 5610.2. That order requires that activities that would have โ€œa disproportionately high and adverse effect on minority populations or low-income populationsโ€ be avoided or mitigated when practicable. (4, 5)

As reported by PHS&KC, โ€œthe majority of people in King County identifying as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander live in communities within 10 miles of the airportโ€, โ€œa greater proportion of people in these communities are immigrants, and a slightly higher proportion are children,โ€ and the percentage of people in near poverty or poverty increased the closer you are to the airportโ€, ranging from 37.2% - 24.4% within ten miles of the airport as compared with 16.1% in the balance of the county. These poverty rates are even higher for children. (2)
This moratorium must go into effect immediately in order to prevent the Port of Seattle from implementing its current near-term plans that would result in significant reduction of green space and tree coverage in this community, and must continue until the CARE Plan for the Greater North SeaTac Park Community, as outlined below, or a plan with comparable protections for our communityโ€™s health, is in place.

๐€ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ง ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ก๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐€๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ ๐‘๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐„๐œ๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก ๐’๐ž๐š๐“๐š๐œ ๐๐š๐ซ๐ค ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ (CARE Plan), by the Port of Seattle and other partnering jurisdictions, that is fully funded and professionally managed, in order to restore and maintain for future generations the natural areas within and surrounding North SeaTac Park, including forests and waterways and with emphasis on Tub Lake and its prehistoric peat bog, a type of wetland that is highly environmentally sensitive and increasingly rare in King County. ย 

The plan must include control of invasive weeds and preparation for existing and expected climate impacts such as drought, high heat, and pests.

It must, in a manner and at a scale recommended by experts in urban forestry and public health, propose specific steps to implement the recommendation made by the Seattle-King County Health Department to increase green space and tree coverage, particularly coniferous trees, near SeaTac Airport in order to reduce residentsโ€™ exposure to toxics from airport operations.

It must protect and retain existing trees, as large-diameter trees can capture more toxic particulates, store โ€œdisproportionally massive amounts of carbon,โ€ ย and โ€œfulfill a variety of unique ecological roles such as increasing drought-tolerance, reducing flooding from intense precipitation events, altering fire behavior, redistributing soil water, and acting as focal centers of mycorrhizal communication and resource sharing networks." (6)

It should set a goal of restoring urban tree canopy coverage in this community from its current low averages, for example, of 21% in SeaTac (25% not including the airport), 30% in Burien, and 29% in Des Moines, to 40% or more, as recommended by Forterra NW in three studies that it prepared for the Port of Seattle Airport Community Ecology Fund. (7-9)

And it must include concrete actions to limit, to the extent reasonably possible, development activities of the Port of Seattle within ten miles of the airport to its existing developed footprint. The Port controls sprawling multi-acre, single-level parking lots as well as other already-paved and underutilized properties, where redevelopment with higher density approaches are feasible and ecologically sound.
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