King County Council Opposes State Timber Sale Over Climate Impacts – Leading To A Cancellation By State 

Dear Neighbor,

We have clear climate goals in King County, and our forests provide benefits to human health, salmon habitat, and water quality and quantity, in addition to the economic benefits of sustainable timber. There are substantial carbon and climate benefits to maintaining, protecting, restoring, and expanding the more than 811,000 acres of forest land in King County. A small portion of these forests – about 14,800 acres – are considered mature legacy forests, which due to their carbon capture potential and their risk of loss due to wildfire, insects, and disease rank them among the highest priority for protection in the county. 

For nearly 100 years, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has managed the state forest trust lands within King County to balance economic, environmental, and recreational interests. But the agency’s logging of older, carbon dense forests has concerned many of us environmentalists engaged with the state’s climate action agenda. 

Periodically, DNR will put state trust forest lands up for auction. Earlier this month, I led an effort which culminated in a majority of the King County Council sending a letter to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Board of Natural Resources (BNR) requesting they defer auction of the Wishbone Timber Sale. As a result of our efforts, the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) cancelled the Wishbone timber sale scheduled for July 25. While this may just be a pause on the potential sale, it is a promising sign. 

Located off Stossel Creek near Duvall, the proposed timber sale includes older dense forests that – due to their size – are powerful carbon captors that help bolster the county’s resilience to future climate impacts associated with heat waves, drought, fire, and flooding. 

“In order to have a healthy sustainable economy, we need to keep our region a great place to live,” Upthegrove said. “That is why we want greater consideration of the carbon impacts of clearcutting the remaining mature legacy forests in King County. The harmful economic impacts of climate change require us to fundamentally revisit the old way of doing things.”  

It is important to remember that these legacy forests make up a very small percentage of the forest lands in King County (15,000 acres out of 811,000 acres). However, the protection of these forests is critical if we are to be serious about reducing the pollution causing climate change.

Legacy Forests

Lower Russell Road Levee Setback Project 

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at the ribbon cutting of the lower Russell Road Levee Setback project. This $58 million project has been years in the making and could not have been completed without strong partnerships between the King County Flood Control District, the City of Kent, our Tribal partners, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Lower Russell Levee Setback project is part of a larger overall flood management strategy for the lower Green River. The new levee is set back from the river to better reduce flood risks to residential and commercial development behind the levee, while also improving wetland and aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife. A bigger and better Van Doren’s Landing Park – featuring its own Mt. Rainier-inspired climbing structure – was created as part of the project, providing families a place to gather and play.

During my past tenure as the Chair of the King County Flood Control District, projects like this – projects that not only provide flood protection but also environmental and recreational benefits – were my priority. When we invest in flood safety projects, we should look for opportunities to protect our iconic Chinook salmon and improve public spaces for future generations. This project does just that.

You can view my remarks from the event below:

Lower Russell Road Ribbon Cutting

Reminder: The August 2023 Primary Election Is Next week! 

Be heard! Vote in the Aug 2023 Primary election. Ballots have been mailed out and are due back by Aug 1. To find a dropbox near you, visit: https://bit.ly/407hGff  

Primary Elections

Free Back-to-School Vaccine Clinics in South King County 

No-cost back-to-school clinics are open to children who: 

  • Live in South King County or 
  • Are uninsured or have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccinations or 
  • Are experiencing homelessness or 
  • Recently moved to the United States and don’t have a medical provider 

Offering COVID vaccines & all vaccines required for K-12 school. No insurance or proof of residency required.

Our friends at the Seattle Storm have teamed up with us to give away Storm tickets as a thank you. Every child vaccinated will get two free tickets to a home game, while supplies last. 

Back To School Vaccination Clinics

Adopt A Kitten For Just $50 From King County Regional Animal Services

Many of you know my cat, Dobby (see below enjoying a relaxing morning while I attend Zoom meetings) who, along with our recent addition Benji the pup, shares our home. Pets offer so much to their human friends – companionship and cuddles, laughter and fun, and yes, a bit of hard work – but they’re worth it. If you have room in your heart and your home, King County Regional Animal Services in Kent has made the adoption for for kittens under six months just $50 (plus a pet license fee where applicable) until July 31st. You can see all their “adorable adoptables” here.


As always, I value your thoughts, ideas, and input. Please feel welcome to contact me via email at [email protected].

You can watch Council meetings via livestream on the Council’s website or on KCTV channel 22. We take general public comment on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

To learn more about testifying before Council go to:




Dave Upthegrove
King County Councilmember
District 5

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