Click HERE to see public responses and comments
Click HERE for a statement acknowledging and thanking those who stood up to protect this park.
In May - August of 2021, several organizations and over 2,400* people, including elected officials of the City of SeaTac, King County, and multiple other local cities, signed a petition calling on the Port of Seattle to drop plans for Lot L06, an airport employee parking lot that would have been built within North SeaTac Park. This would have destroyed 11 acres of trees and mountain bike trails.
On 8/25/21, the Port of Seattle and the FAA announced that Lot L06 had been “removed” from the SAMP. In a 9/28/21 phone call, Clare Gallagher, Port of Seattle’s Public Affairs Director for Capital Project Delivery and Mike Merritt, Senior Policy Advisor for the Port, assured the petition organizer that there will be no other SAMP-related proposals within North SeaTac Park.
Though no SAMP proposals remain inside the park, there remain other SAMP proposals that would destroy acres of trees on land immediately surrounding the park.
In addition, the Port's 2016 Strategic Real Estate Plan outlines the potential for warehouses and other structures on as many as 70 mostly-forested acres within and around the park. Such a severe loss of trees would have devastating health impacts on our communities. See this site’s Home and Action pages for more info and how to help keep this park and the surrounding communities safe from unnecessary loss of trees and recreational resources.
TO: Port of Seattle Leadership Team, Commissioners, and candidates and to Mayors, Councilmembers, and environmental review officers of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila
We call on the Port of Seattle to withdraw the proposal (1) in its Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) (2) to convert acres of existing green space in North SeaTac Park (3) into employee parking lot # L-06. We also call on the Port and local officials to re-evaluate the additional proposals in the SAMP that would result in the removal large numbers of trees from land near this park for other airport structures.
Construction of Lot #L06 would replace acres of forested land with a barren surface, destroy mountain bike trails that are an important recreational resource for our community, increase storm water runoff and flooding potential, and remove trees and green space that clean our air of airport-generated pollution.
The benefits provided by the large trees and mature forested land that the Port proposes to remove could not be replaced by planting new trees in other locations. Nor are this community’s forested mountain bike trails a replaceable resource.
An alternative to the removal of this critical green space would be to convert the existing nearly 40-acre SeaTac north employee lot to a multi-story parking garage. This could quadruple parking capacity and create a noise barrier between the airport and the park and nearby neighborhoods.
A new lot may be cheaper for the Port than a parking garage. But the resulting loss of trees and green space would cost much more in health and environmental impacts and reduced property values – all borne by the community. That would be deeply unjust.
North SeaTac Park was created after the Port removed large numbers of homes here to accommodate airport operations. Its trees mitigate the disproportionate harm that the airport causes communities in its shadow. Most neighborhoods near the park are state-designated as “highly-impacted” (4) due to environmental health disparities caused, largely, by the air traffic overhead. Research shows (5) that local residents are exposed to pollution uniquely associated with this traffic, including ultrafine particles that pose substantial hazards to human health.
Trees are critical to mitigate this harm (6). But our communities, like many others that bear disproportionate environmental health impacts (7), already have fewer trees than the national average (~ 21% for SeaTac compared with a national average of 30%. (8, 9)) The Port has helped create this tree inequity and must take responsibility to cure it.
We call on the Port to honor its obligation to protect the communities in its shadow, to be a better steward of its forested land, and to address any need for airport expansion in a manner that aligns with its:
Mission (10) to operate “in an equitable, accountable and environmentally responsible manner;”
Vision (10) of “stewarding our environment responsibly, partnering with surrounding communities, (and) promoting social responsibility;”
Goal stated in its March 2021 draft Maritime Climate and Air Action Plan (11) to “address the urgency of the climate crisis and the needs of near‐port communities in Seattle that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.”
Equity Statement and Vision (12) that the Port “must be accountable for equitable policies that ensure racial, social, environmental, and economic justice are achieved in strategies, practices, and projects.”
We also call on officials of the cities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila to individually and collectively, through the Interlocal Agreement for Environmental Review (13) of the SAMP between three of these cities and by any other appropriate means, to oppose Lot #L06 and to vigorously appeal any proposal that would advance its construction.
Lot L06 is shown on the map on page 11 of Seattle Tacoma International Airport Sustainable Airport Master Plan Near Term Projects Environmental Review Process Scoping Information Documents prepared by Landrum & Brown Inc. for Port of Seattle, July 2018. Accessed on 5/20/21 at: https://sampntpenvironmentalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/SAMP_NTP_EnvrReview_ScopingReport_FINAL_Attachment1.pdf
Port of Seattle Sustainable Airport Master Plan landing page. Accessed on 5/20/21 at: https://www.portseattle.org/plans/sustainable-airport-master-plan-samp
North SeaTac Agreements- Draft, City of SeaTac. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UTVXvSGfuo66ilmohMF5sn_OciECIKP3/view?usp=sharing Undated zoning map received by Noemie Maxwell in an email communication from Port of Seattle Customer Care on 4/21/21. The email was signed by Brooke and contained the following description of this map: “North SeaTac Park is defined by a lease agreement with the City of SeaTac. That lease has been amended twice, to provide for flexibility for potential future development on a portion of the park. I’m attaching the City’s most recent, detailed map of what is included in the amended agreement. North SeaTac Park is essentially the green and yellow shaded areas. The area hatched with red lines is the proposed SAMP NTP L06 surface parking lot. The yellow and reddish areas are the 55-acres that can be removed from the Park, based on the second amendment to the lease (in 2002) and a development agreement with the City of SeaTac (also 2002), for potential future non-park development.”
Washington State Department of Health Environmental Health Disparities Map accessed on 5/20/21 at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/WashingtonTrackingNetworkWTN/InformationbyLocation/WashingtonEnvironmentalHealthDisparitiesMap
Communities around Sea-Tac Airport exposed to a unique mix of air pollution associated with aircraft, University of Washington News, Dec. 3, 2019 accessed on 5/20/21 at: https://www.washington.edu/news/2019/12/03/communities-around-sea-tac-airport-exposed-to-a-unique-mix-of-air-pollution-associated-with-aircraft/
One of many examples of research establishing the vital role trees play in removing dangerous pollution from our air, including the ultra-fine particles created by airport operations is: Efficient Removal of Ultrafine Particles from Diesel Exhaust by Selected Tree Species: Implications for Roadside Planting for Improving the Quality of Urban Air by Huixia Wang et al, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 12, 6906–6916, May 16, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06629
Tree Equity in America’s Forests, American Forests. Accessed 5/20/21 at https://www.americanforests.org/our-work/urban-forestry/
Page 14. Green SeaTac Partnership Urban Forest Enhancement Guide, Forterra, City of SeaTac, Port of Seattle, 2019. Accessed on 5/20/21 at https://forterra.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/GC_Seatac-guide_032621_WEB.pdf
Declining urban and community tree cover in the United States David J. Nowak, Eric J. Greenfield, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. V. 32, May 2018, Pages 32-55 https://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/jrnl/2018/nrs_2018_nowak_005.pdf
Port of Seattle, Our Mission. Accessed on 5/20/21 at: https://www.portseattle.org/about/our-mission
Charting the Course to Zero: Port of Seattle’s Maritime Climate and Air Action Plan, Draft, March 2021. Accessed on 5/21/21 at https://www.portseattle.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/MCAAP-_2021_03_05_DraftForComment.pdf
Equity Statement and Vision, Port of Seattle Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Accessed on 5/22/21 at https://www.portseattle.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/OEDI_Folio_individualPages.pdf
Interlocal Agreement for Environmental Review of SAMP Accessed on 5/20/21 at https://tinyurl.com/7bk6k3p7
* 1,838 of the signatures are published, 545 are unpublished, and 86 remain to be verified.