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Why Shoreline’s removal of 5,000 trees will be better long-term

Sound Transit removed about 5,000 trees along I-5 to make room for a new light rail line. (Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio)

Sound Transit’s decision to cut down over 5,000 trees on the I-5 corridor between Northgate and Lynnwood to make way for its coming light rail line sent waves throughout the preservationist community.

Shoreline city manager Eric Bratton, who drives by the site on I-5 every day, called the loss a kind of “shell shock.”

Shoreline becomes latest battleground for tree-saving activists

Still, he said, it is a necessary price to pay to sensibly deal with extraordinary population growth in the area.

“What we’re trying to do here in Shoreline is make sure that we’re managing our urban forest and managing our growth at the same time,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

That means that the city is trying to concentrate all future growth around the light rail station to prevent patches of tree cutting all around the city.

“While there definitely are going to be huge impacts in that neighborhood, overall our tree canopy will be actually healthier, and we’ll have more tree canopy,” he said.

Single-family homes built across the city in a non-concentrated way would cause far more trees to be felled, he pointed out.

TreeSisters plan vigil for 5,300 trees felled by Sound Transit

“[Light rail] is coming to Shoreline, we know growth will occur around light rail, so why not plan for it?” Bratton stressed.

The light rail extension includes two stops in Shoreline — Shoreline South at 145th Street and Shoreline North at 185th Street.

To make up for Sound Transit’s tree cutting, the city is planting dozens of new trees in the same sites or nearby.

“Trees will be planted there — sure, they’re not going to be the significant trees you see today, but eventually they will be that size,” Bratton said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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