May 18, 2018 Tree Ordinance Press Conference
Good morning. Thank you for coming today.
My name is Maria Batayola and I chair the Beacon Hill Council. No one disagrees that
trees are very important in general. For our neighborhood, trees are critical. Here’s
Beacon Hill is 6 miles long and 1 to miles across. We have 35,000 residents who are
80% people of color, 44% immigrants and refugees with 36% not speaking English well,
and 1out of 5 of our neighbors are low income. The City considers us a vulnerable
From a race and social justice perspective, we are the only neighborhood in Seattle that
has the multiple mobile emissions of air and noise pollution that is impacts our health.
Our air and noise pollution challenges from all directions – 120,000 cars travel daily on I90,
250,000 cars on I-5, MLK and Rainier. Seattle is number 10 in traffic congestion in
the nation. We are under the flight path with airplanes flying over us every 2 to 3
minutes. The Port of Seattle projected steep increase in air travel and cargo flights.
The noise decibel level in Beacon Hill is in the 70’s, well above the City’s 55 decibel
maximum by day and 45 decibel at night, and above the FAA’s 65 decibels
overall. Sadly, we are not eligible for air and noise mitigation funding.
The established health impacts for air pollution include asthma, reduce lung capacity,
eyes/nose/throat/lungs irritation, heart disease and cancer, while the health impacts for
noise pollution are heart disease, sleep disturbance, stress, general annoyance and
lower math and reading test scores for schools without insulation, along with other
Our trees generate fresh air and act as a noise barrier. Let’s dispel the idea that the
displaced trees from housing density development can be mitigated by planting trees in
the south end. This is not a social injustice fix. It is equally unfair to our neighbors up
north to do so. Every Seattle resident, either a resident, homeowner and/or renter,
deserves a healthy environment.
We need an effective Tree Ordinance immediately. We are facing a proposed Brick Pit
development for 120 housing units on the Duwamish greenbelt by I-5 that will take out
20 acres of trees. We strongly encourage Councilman Rob Johnson to enhance his
proposed Tree Ordinance with our Coalition’s recommendations to ensure its
The ordinance needs to go farther to protect all both of our personal and planetary
health and well-being. Thank you.
Beacon Hill Council is a member of the Coalition for a Stronger Tree ordinance