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Activists, birders rally around a massive cedar slated for removal

 A person holds their hands to their head standing next to a fence covered in signs. Beyond is a lot with gravel and a tall cedar tree.
Lilly Ana Fowler
A massive western red cedar in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood has drawn activists who want to protect the city's urban canopy. Seattle City Council recently passed a long-awaited update to the tree ordinance which has been criticized for not doing enough to protect the existing tree canopy.

Seattle has already seen a big decline in its urban canopy. Many tree activists saythe city’s new tree ordinance will allow even more trees to be removed, even though they're one of the most effective tools planners have to counter the effects of climate change.

Activists came together Tuesday night for the second time in two weeks, to rally around a massive western red cedar in the Wedgwood neighborhood. A developer is expected to take it down on Friday.

They said they were there to strategize, but also to honor the life of the tree and express their grief. Sandy Shettler with the group,The Last 6000 was among those in attendance.

“It's a way to help the community heal, because tree removals, especially very large tree removals, are pretty traumatic for the community around them, we get a lot of outreach to all the different tree groups, when a large tree is removed,” she said.

The Wedgwood cedar is on the edge of a residential lot. A tree sitter moved into its limbs on Friday and said he’ll continue to occupy it until the group gets binding protection.

On Wednesday morning, birders planned to count the birds in its canopy, to demonstrate the impact of the loss. The developer, Bellevue, Wash.-based Legacy Capital, said it removes trees only when absolutely necessary and with approval by the city regulators.

Updated: July 19, 2023 at 1:05 PM PDT
Add photo of the Wedgwood cedar tree.
Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to