Sea-Tac Airport plan to remove trees for safety has some opponents

By: Deborah Horne

Updated:

You have only to look up at the popular Des Moines Creek trail to clearly see the issue as aircraft whiz by overhead, having to contend with the tall greenbelt around Sea-Tac Airport.

© 2017 Cox Media Group.

"I like to think of it as you're driving along a road on a street," said Perry Cooper, Sea-Tac spokesman. "You see trees as they start to grow in from the sides."

That, says Cooper, is when the authorities come in and cut back the threes.

"Same kind of thing here," he said. "Our aircraft are not that close, you've got a lot more distance between that, but it's that safety factor. You want to make sure those trees are cut down before they get into a potential area where they could pose some risk."

At least one of those trees is in Ray Carbaugh's yard.  

He says it doesn't matter to him if the tree goes. Why not? he was asked.

"I don't want it to fall onto somebody's house or fall into the wires," said Carbaugh who has lived on Sea-Tac's flight path for 50 years.

© 2017 Cox Media Group.

But neighbor David Gerlach has a different view. His concern?

"Well, just that there's just no longer this habitat," said the Sea-Tac resident, who thinks that will happen at the Des Moines Creek Trail under Sea-Tac's tree removal plan.

"There's probably five nesting pairs of owls just in this little area," he said. 

What will happen to the owls? he was asked.

"I'm not sure; I'm not sure," he said. "If they don't have the same habitat, they may just go away."

Sea-Tac's Perry Cooper says they will replant even more trees than they take out, although not necessarily in the same places.

The trees will come down in phases; the first phase to begin in the fall.

And the public will get to weigh in again before the last two phases are done.

Next Up: