Commissioners, I have been watching with interest your purchase of the plot of land you refer to as 'SR 509 Surplus'. Residents of Des Moines refer to it as 'the forest off of 216th'. We call it that because that entire area used to be forested. The development of the Business Park and FAA buildings are all very well, but they have come at the cost of literally thousands of trees. Couple that with the tree cutting you've been doing on the other side of that forest (200th) to appease the FAA and it adds up to a significant reduction in the entire tree cover of our Des Moines. There are virtually no trees left anywhere on those properties. And my fear is that your new acquisition will meet a similar fate. Last month, our Council received an update from Green City Partners on the tree cover in Des Moines and the news is not great. We are now at 29%, which is -far- less than we used to be and far less than cities in north and east King County. In short: your very laudable goals for economic development in Des Moines also came at an unmitigated cost to our environment. So I'm asking you to do better moving forward. To do that, I'm asking that the Port begin a discussion to make trees an integral part of any development plans you may have on that site. Surely there are ways to develop the land with the minimum loss of trees and even to re-plant with better species. But that 'green' practice has to be part of the process from the beginning, not an afterthought. Please let me know how we can get this discussion started. Thanks, ---JC
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