Washington State Senate
Senator Karen Keiser
City of SeaTac
Mayor Jake Simpson
Deputy Mayor Senayet Negusse
Councilmember Mohamed Egal
Councilmember Iris Guzman
Councilmember Peter Kwon
City of Burien
Councilmember Cydney Moore
Councilmember Sarah Moore
City of Normandy Park
Councilmember Earnest Thompson
City of Tukwila
Councilmember Kate Kruller
Allison Ostrer, Certified Public Interpreter
Back Alley Honey, LLC
Boulevard Park Community Action Network
Environment, Energy, and Land Use Caucus of the Combined 33rd and 34th District Democrats
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Burien
Current Port of Seattle recommendations would result in an estimated 107+ acres of commercial aviation development on forested land near SeaTac Airport, including “conceptual site considerations” for 31.5 acres of development inside North SeaTac Park.
This development would occur on land where the FAA and Port of Seattle used eminent domain to remove the homes, schools, and businesses of thousands of residents to make way for airport expansion that was making the area uninhabitable.
During the years when these neighborhoods were being dismantled, and for decades following, multiple community plans indicated that hundreds of mostly-forested acres of this land (shown on this map with dark green shading and labeled North and South Acquisition Areas) would remain as open space use for parks, nature trails and similar uses.
North SeaTac Park has especially been perceived as a protected public space having been created, as the FAA noted in a 2016 audit, “to compensate area residents for cumulative airport impacts.”
This map is excerpted from a brochure on the SeaTac Communities Plan published by the Port and King County in 1976. and downloaded from the SeaTac Airport Noise and Pollution website. Red circle and arrows and text in white boxes were added by the author of this (Defenders of North SeaTac Park) website. Click on map for larger version.
Trees reduce human exposure to aviation pollution causing harmful health impacts near SeaTac Airport, including widespread disease, shorter lives, premature births, and learning problems in children. Public Health Seattle & King County has recognized these connections and recommends increasing green space and trees here.
The Port of Seattle, despite the harmful public health impacts of urban deforestation and its own commitment to restore forests and reduce sprawl, has replaced large areas of forested land with sprawling aviation development in this community - and proposes much more forest removal.
These actions respond to forecasts that regional aviation demand - both passenger and cargo - will double by 2050. They are consistent with the Port’s mission to advance trade and travel.
But that mission - and Port and FAA policies and culture that produce aviation sprawl on forested land in a community with low tree canopy and high levels of environmental health disparities - need updating. The time for this change is now.
Planning for major expansion of SeaTac Airport is underway. And in June, 2023, Washington’s Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission is expected to announce a preferred location for a second regional airport. The FAA, State of Washington, and Port of Seattle cannot meet their commitments to safety, environmental justice and climate action by limitlessly accommodating forecasted demand. Instead, in order to preserve livable communities and a livable world, we must prioritize strategies and actions to manage demand.
We envision North SeaTac Park and its surrounding forest restored and protected for the health, well-being and delight of the people and that people in all neighborhoods throughout our region can live within vibrant urban forests where tree-lined corridors connect with parks, forestland, and cool, green spaces to play, relax, and gather. This Consensus, with your support, can bring that vision closer to reality.
The Port of Seattle “states the Park is the culmination of a long term and very open planning process to compensate the area’s residents for cumulative airport impacts. According to the Aviation Division, the Park is the best compatible use of a severely airport-impacted area".
Federal Aviation Administration Compliance Reviews of Airport Noise Land Use & Financial Operations 2016 p. 11.
SeaTac International Airport and the surrounding community for many miles around it are on the ancestral lands and waters of the Salish people of the Duwamish, Green, White, Cedar, and Upper Puyallup rivers, including those who are now members of the Duwamish Tribe and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. These tribes and their members have been stewarding these lands and waters since time immemorial. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the members, past and present, of these tribes.