Honoring the Giant Sequoia

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Yesterday, folks gathered to honor the fallen giant sequoia.  I’ve heard positive reports about the proceedings from several attendees.  Because I am not allowed in Pier Park for 30 days as a consequence of my arrest last week, I was not able to attend the majority of the event…though I did join in for the closing moments from the steep bank on adjacent railroad property.  I’ll rely on others from our group to provide posts with details and photos of the event.

For now, I’ll post the contents of a handout we provided to attendees.

APOLOGIES – THE LINKS DO NOT SEEM TO BE WORKING, and I don’t know how to fix that…PLEASE COPY THE LINK AND PASTE IT INTO THE ADDRESS LINE OF YOUR EMAIL when sending your email to these officials.

What we’re FOR: 

  • The concept of the North Portland Greenway Trail
  • Safe accessibility to the Pier Park/Chimney Park portion of this trail for all persons, including walkers, runners, bicyclists, wheelchairs
  • Portland Parks & Recreation and all the good things they do.
  • Safeguarding a unique and significant grove of Giant Sequoia (possibly the largest grove in any city park)
  • An elevated trail at the edge of the Sequoia Grove, made of NATURAL materials
  • A transition from bridge to path that does not encroach on the Sequoia Grove
  • Increased transparency for all public agencies, and public involvement in decision-making processes

What we’re AGAINST:

  • Cutting down or damaging any more Giant Sequoia from the Grove in Pier Park
  • The 65′ long, 10′ wide asphalt ‘path’/road/truck route that extends into the Sequoia Grove from the bridge connecting Pier/Chimney Park
  • Any path that bisects the Grove
  • Lack of transparency on City projects

TAKE ACTION  – VOICE YOUR OPINION – CONTACT INFO

MAYOR CHARLIE HALES - mayorhales@portlandoregon.gov - 503-823-41201              221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

ELIZABETH KENNEDY-WONG, Community Engagement and Public Involvement Manager, Parks & Recreation at City of Portland -503-823-5113               elizabeth.kennedy-wong@portlandoregon.gov

PORTLAND CITY COMMISSIONERS: Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, Steve Novick, Dan Saltzman, LaVonne Griffin-Valade

Contact info at http://www.portlandonline.com/index.cfm?c=28533 

METRO 

Jane Hart - 503-797-1585 - jane.hart@oregonmetro.gov                                          Councilor Sam Chase - 503-797-1552 - sam.chase@oregonmetro.gov                      Council President Tom Hughes – 503-797-1889 - tom.hughes@oregonmetro.gov   

FRIENDS OF PIER PARK http://www.friendsofpierpark.org/

ST. JOHNS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOC.  http://www.stjohnspdx.org/

RELATED WEBSITES

PIER/CHIMNEY BRIDGE Page: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/58568

NORTH PORTLAND GREENWAY Page - http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/56617

MAPS/PLANS

ODOT PLANS OF ENTIRE PROJECT http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/437725

NORTH PORTLAND GREENWAY TRAIL SEGMENT 2 - http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/429521

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not!” – The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

I spent much of the day emailing everyone I know regarding Sunday’s GIANT SEQUOIA MEMORIAL & GROVE PRESERVATION INFO event:
 
“I was arrested last Friday in a last-ditch, futile attempt to prevent the cutting of a specimen in the Giant Sequoia Grove in Pier Park.  This grove consists of approximately 30 Sequoia, and was declared “a significant grove” by the Hoyt Arboretum.  Our small but growing group is concerned because we have determined that only a handful of people were made aware that this tree would be destroyed until just before it was cut it down.  By that time, our protest was too little, and too late.
 
We have seen several versions of City plans for future development in the immediate grove area, including some that show a 10′ wide asphalt path bisecting this magnificent grove.  This path extends from a bridge (to be built in April, and is large enough to support a fire truck) that is part of the N Portland Greenway project, and will connect Pier Park and Chimney Park.  The Sequoia was cut down to accommodate the bridge.  We are concerned that as this project continues to evolve, the integrity of the entire remaining Giant Sequoia Grove is in great jeopardy.  
 
Action is needed NOW to prevent further destruction of the Grove.  Our first step in fostering public awareness of this situation is a Giant Sequoia Memorial and Grove Preservation Information event.  We want to have as many people in attendance as possible…this was a major local news event last week, and it’s important for the press to note how our movement is gathering support…keeping the story alive as we work on a solution. 
 
Do you know anyone who would be interested in attending this event, or who would like to read more about it?
Then PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE!
 
Thanks ,
Chris Fountain and other Friends of the Giant Sequoia Grove – Pier Park

GIANT SEQUOIA MEMORIAL AND GROVE PRESERVATION INFO EVENT 
Sunday, March 3 @ 3 PM 
Pier Park, Giant Sequoia Grove

Further info AND a map can be found on our blog;

Facebook: search Preserve the Giant Sequoia Grove in Pier Park

If you don’t complain, this tree died in vain.

The ONLY way the integrity of the remaining Great Sequoia Grove will be preserved is if you lend your voice to the outcry.  Charlie Hales is the man in charge, and he can’t help but take notice if his office is inundated with LETTERS…remember those paper things that you put a stamp on?  Emails are far too easy for his assistant to DELETE (or become ‘lost’).  Find an envelope somewhere and JUST DO IT!  Tell him why you don’t want to see a 10′ wide paved path go thru the center of a pristine sequoia grove.  Tell him that you think the whole plan – tree cutting, new bridge, and invasive ‘path’ – stinks!  Just TELL HIM…and do it FAST!

Mayor Charlie Hales, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

Who signed off on these bridge plans?

New information:  These are believed to be the final plans for the new bridge.  The bridge pavement extends into the great sequoia grove, and we fear that a 10′ wide asphalt ‘path’ will continue from the end of the bridge through a space that should be left ALONE.

SEE THE PLANS by clicking on this link:

http://giantsequoiagrovepierpark.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/chimney-pier-bridge-plans.pdf

Sequoia Down! Remaining Grove Threatened

Imagine yourself in the middle of North Portland.  You drive a few blocks and see ahead of one of Portland’s many wonderful parks.  You get out of your car and start to stroll through an incredible variety of towering trees and robust shrubs on a beautifully maintained trail.  Soon you find yourself at the edge of a huge, oval grove of giant sequoia, and you are drawn to the center of the space.  You look up and see the trees soaring skyward over 120′ above you, and you catch your breath. Strong, dense trunks stand watch around you, and you sense that this is a VERY special place- a place where you can think and dream, meditate, or pray.

On Thursday of last week, that sacred space was invaded by cherry-pickers and chainsaws intent on taking down one of these gentle green giants.  A handful of  protesters was able to stop City workers from touching the mighty sequoia, even though the police outnumbered the protesters.  But on Friday, workers completed taking down two neighboring Douglas firs. Then, in spite of frantic phone calls to the Mayor’s office, faces covered in tears, and ultimately an arrest, down came one of the largest sequoia in the grove.

Some people said “It’s only one tree…and they’re going to plant more of them to mitigate the loss.”  Those people don’t understand the bigger picture.

The city removed the tree to accommodate a bridge that will connect Pier Park with Chimney Park…part of the North Portland Greenway.  They told the people that the bridge would be a footbridge/bike path.  Now we hear that their plans are to build a bridge that is large enough to support a fire truck.

They decided to locate the bridge at the edge of the sequoia grove, even though there is an existing bridge less than a quarter mile away on N. Columbia which might be widened to comfortably accommodate walkers and bikes.  Or, alternately, they might have chosen to build new foot/bike bridge right next to the existing street bridge, across which fire trucks already drive .  We think the new bridge will be between 9 and 12 feet wide…but no one has shown us the final plans.

And there will be a new path that connects to that bridge.  The planned route of the path is, as you may have already guessed, right thru the center of the Sequoia Grove.  The people were told it was going to be a little woodland path, paved with natural materials.  Now we are told that they are going to build a path that is a minimum of 10′ wide, and pave it with asphalt…but again, no one has shown us the final plans.

So you see, we can’t stop fighting now. A magnificent sequoia is down.  And now we must work to prevent further impact on the grove that still stands.

This is the first day of this blog.  It’s not totally set up because I’m still learning how to do it.  There are duplications, broken links, and the About page will be a work in progress.  Our tiny group is still formulating what action steps that we will take, and how far we’re willing to take that action.  But we think that there are only four weeks until bridge construction begins, and the pressure is on.

We need support.  We need bodies.  We need clear thinkers and experts who can help us sort thru the facts as we get up to speed on exactly how things got to this point.  We need people who are willing to write to the Commissioners and apply some pressure.  We need taxpayers who are outraged – again and again – as they are mislead and ill-informed – as the City just keeps rolling along, doing what will suit it’s own interests.

Comment here.  Get on board!  If you’re willing to help, leave contact info on your comment, or send me an email at cfount@earthink.net.  If you aren’t sure you want to commit, come to our Sequoia Memorial at 3 PM next Sunday, March 3,  and see these trees for yourself.  The trees will tell you all you need to know.

Good grief…take down a healthy tree to make way for a trail?  Build a 10′ wide asphalt ‘path’ thru a pristine Great Sequoia grove?  What on earth are these people thinking?

Chris Fountain – arrested protester