Feb 28, 2024 - News

City investigating deadly damage to Wedgwood tree

Two photos that show a large branched tree in Seattle and activists protesting its removal.

Astra, a Western red cedar in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood that members of Tree Action Seattle (gathered at right) had been trying to save. Photos: Courtesy of Tree Action Seattle

This time, tree activists were unable to save a giant Western red cedar in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood.

State of play: By the time members of Tree Action Seattle gathered on Saturday, Astra — a tree on Northeast 88th Street — had already been damaged beyond repair by someone who cut through the bark in a ring around the tree, according to the Seattle Times.

  • The urban tree advocacy group was there to protest the planned removal of the 100-year-old tree for development, Sandy Shettler of Tree Action Seattle told Axios.

A spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI), which oversees compliance with the city's tree protection policies, said the department is investigating the damage to Astra.

  • A civil penalty based on the tree's value and the cost of restoration is required when a tree is illegally removed or damaged to the point that it will not survive, SDCI spokesperson Bryan Stevens told Axios.
  • Stevens said the value of Astra is close to $75,000 and the city is seeking an "expeditious legal remedy for these illegal actions."

Catch up quick: Tree Action Seattle was instrumental in the successful effort last year to protect Luma, another Thuja plicata about four blocks away from Astra.

  • Luma was determined to have been "culturally modified" by the Snoqualmie people over centuries and declared an archaeological site.
  • The site developer for the lot on which Astra sits is the same as the developer that had planned to remove Luma last year, per the Seattle Times.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Seattle.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Seattle stories

No stories could be found

Seattlepostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Seattle.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more