Proposed Update to SDCI Director's Rule will Help Save Large Trees Needed to Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change

As Seattle is experiencing record breaking high temperatures and potentially deadly heat-island impacts, the removal of Seattle’s largest trees continue.  In July 2020, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) released a  draft Tree Protection Director’s Rule 13-2020, which would  significantly increase the urgently needed protection for trees in Seattle. 

This week, Toby Thaler, Legislative Aide to Councilmember Pedersen sent out the following letter to tree supporters urging them to contact the city in support of  draft Tree Protection Director’s Rule 13-2020. 

Action is urgently needed! 

  • Send a pre-written (you can modify) to SDCI, Mayor and the City Council here.

Date: Fri, Jun 25, 2021 at 5:24 PM
Subject: Trees, Temperature, and Environmental Justice
From: Thaler, Toby <>

Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest:

As our city heads into an unprecedented heat wave, I want to make sure you saw this recent article in the Seattle Times that highlights the correlation between lack of trees (forest canopy) and hotter areas, which disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income households.

As you know, Councilmember Alex Pedersen is eager to have a stronger tree protection ordinance and the drafting of that ordinance has for months been in the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). Ironically in light of the information—not news—presented in the Seattle Times article, one of the reasons for the delay in drafting a new tree ordinance is to assess environmental justice implications.

It is clear the Council will not have a new tree ordinance for review until next year (2022). In the meantime, we are still losing exceptional and other large trees all over the city. SDCI has a draft of an updated director’s rule that would help, but has not acted on it. Rule adoption—preferably after addressing shortcomings identified by the Urban Forestry Commission—requires action by SDCI Director Nathan Torgelson.

Thank you for your continued support for environmental protections and positive public health outcomes in Seattle.

Toby Thaler
Legislative Aide to
Councilmember Pedersen

Thanks for your help! See all our current campaigns to save our urban forest here.


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