[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Waterland Blog, nor its staff:]
Ask our Port Commissioners to Preserve North SeaTac Park by Selling to the City of SeaTac
In 1976, the Port of Seattle and King County came up with the “Sea-Tac Communities Plan,” which created North SeaTac Park as mitigation for the second runway. The plan outlined creating vast amounts of open recreational green space north, south, east, and west of the airport partially in return for displacing thousands of single-family homes and entire communities, and dramatically increasing noise and pollution.
The Port has since proven highly effective at marketing its role as a regional economic engine. However, it rarely discusses its track record relating to the Sea-Tac Communities Plan and relating to the quality-of-life harm to residents of the airport neighbor communities.
In the past 45 years, the Port of Seattle has:
- Grown, adding on a third runway
- Polluted and filled in two lakes north of the airport
- Failed to create the promised public “Airport Viewing Park” west of the runway
- Shut down the public golf course south of the airport
- Removed 55 acres of the original 200 in North SeaTac Park for development
- Replaced 22 acres of greenspace in Des Moines Creek North, for an Amazon warehouse
- Authorized clearing 28 acres of WSDOT surplus green space for a warehouse
Simply put, the available and publicly accessible open green space in South King County continues to shrink at an alarming rate as a direct result of the airport’s actions. The Port’s marketing prowess and cavalier use of the word “sustainability” cannot change the underlying facts that are literally “on the ground,” relating to loss of, and threats to, public, recreational, tree-laden green spaces. The Port’s refusal or inability to address decades of failure in relation to the Sea-Tac Communities Plan and our quality of life now sit with the 5 elected Port of Seattle Commissioners.
In contrast to the Port’s historic failures, during this same time, the City of SeaTac has actively acquired more greenspace for preservation and public recreation, such as the recent acquisition of the North Des Moines Creek WSDOT surplus green space to expand and improve the Des Moines Creek Trail. The City of SeaTac has also invested millions improving existing parks which is evident by visiting Angle Lake Park, Valley Ridge Park, Riverton Park, McMicken Heights Park, and even the city-improved portions of North SeaTac Park.
Now, comparing the Port and the City of SeaTac side by side, we see where the Port has systemically taken away, and the City has systemically preserved, green space. It is clear which entity is the best, and perhaps only, way to guarantee preservation of North SeaTac Park in perpetuity: the City of SeaTac must own and zone the property as a public park.
We call on our elected Port of Seattle Commissioners to uphold their pro-environment campaign promises, avoid the mistakes made by past commissioners, learn from our history, and explore the possibility of transferring ownership of North SeaTac Park to the City of SeaTac with immediate public and permanent commitments for preservation.
Founder Quiet Skies Puget Sound
- Sea-Tac Communities Plan: https://seatacnoise.info/seatac-communities-plan/
- Des Moines Creek North warehouse: https://www.portseattle.org/news/trammell-crow-company-selected-des-moines-creek-property-development-city-seatac
- Des Moines Creek West development: https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2022/07/14/panattonis-des-moines-creek-west-industrial-park.html
- From Port Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed (https://www.facebook.com/hamdiforport/photos/a.117552620372897/179689220825903/):
“SeaTac consistently bears the brunt of the Port’s decisions, and our communities continue to
- From Port Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa:
“Saying “no” to selling public lands to developers.” https://www.hasegawaforport.com
- Also from Commissioner Hasegawa (https://treepac.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021-TreePAC-Port-of-Seattle-Commissioner-Questionnaire-HASEGAWA.pdf):
“The Port has historical harms to address, and it must actively work to undo them.”
“That also means saying “NO” to destroying forested land that mitigates pollution and provides beloved green space to communities. Specifically, that means removing North SeaTac Park from both the Sustainable Airport Master Plan and Real Estate Strategic Plan that propose its development. Additionally, neglect is a form of abuse. Experts estimate that we have just 50 years to save North SeaTac Park, which suffers from noxious weeds choking out the growth. The Port of Seattle must dedicate staff and resources to restoring and maintaining green spaces as a critical component of port infrastructure.”
“Much of the park will be developed per the Real Estate Master Plan, as well. This is against the will of communities from across King County who have signed a letter in support of preserving the forest, which provides substantial environmental benefit, and is a vital part of a regional green belt that is home to flor and fauna via its marshlands, fields and forest.”
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