Luke McGuff (holyoutlaw) wrote,
Luke McGuff

Council Committee Testimony

On the morning of Tuesday, August 7, forest stewards and others who have benefited from Green Seattle Partnership testified to the Seattle City Council “Libraries, Utilities, and Center” committee, which is Jean Godden (chair), Richard Conlin (vice chair), and Sally Bagshaw. The speakers included me, as representative of North Beach Park; Mary deJong and some girls from Refugee Women’s Alliance, as representatives of Cheasty Greenspace; and two men who gave more technical presentations before and after us. There was also someone who spoke against the rate increase. I think he made a good point about the rapid increase in drainage fees. However, that could be addressed by the city including some mitigation for rainwater retention — lowering rates for people with cisterns or rain gardens, not just giving rebates for the installation. After that last public speaker, we left.

The public comment section is the first part of this embedded video.

The first GSP speaker starts at 3:20, and I start about 5:30. The other GSP speakers are worth watching as well, and the man opposed to the rate increase.

I think it went pretty well, and hope that the rates are used to fund GSP. Don’t think that’s easy for me to say, being a renter. It’s very likely that cost would be passed on to me by the landlord (which is only fair). Also, there is not a square inch of permeable surface on the lot my apartment building is on.

And now, here is the complete statement I’d planned on reading.

Good morning, council members. My name is Luke McGuff, and I live at 59th St. and 20th Ave. NW, in Ballard. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my volunteer work at North Beach Park.

North Beach Park is a 10 acre ravine located at 90th St. NW and NW 24th Ave. Like urban ravines everywhere, it was used as a dump – we’ve found tires, shopping carts, water heaters, oil tanks, even the front end of a car.

But it also provides a beautiful urban oasis. Just a couple dozen yards down the main trail, the city noises fade away and you’re surrounded by bird song and the sound of a babbling stream.

Because it is such an oasis, the neighbors, from Olympic Manor, North Beach, Crown Hill, and other nearby areas, really love it. So when restoration work started in 2011, there was instantly an outpouring of support.

Personally, one of the great things that has happened is that working on the park has given my life a little more focus than it had before. Many of the working relationships have grown into friendships, through the community-building experience of shared work.

Another great memory is when an 8th grade group from a U District Alternative School came to the park last January. They had a great time, and got more trash out of the park than any other group before or since.

The support of Green Seattle Partnership has been invaluable, and I wonder how long term forest stewards were able to work without this support. Tool delivery and pick up, trash removal – sometimes hundreds of pounds at a time – training, promotion, and just the feeling, overall, that someone had my back. GSP has also been a great information resource, on best practices for invasive removal, planting techniques, native plants.

GSP training has helped me see that North Beach Park is far from an ivy or blackberry monoculture, that it has many plants that are rare or even nearly extirpated in Seattle. It’s also helped me see that this work has begun just in time – the existing alder and big leaf maple are near the end of their life spans, and it’s critical we get conifers in and the laurel, holly, and other weed trees out.

Water enters North Beach Park through a number of broad horizontal seeps. During and after rain storms, there are two locations where street run off enters the park. As we restore the health of the park, this water will be filtered, slowed down, cooled, and enter Puget Sound cleaner than it would have without our efforts.

North Beach Park is across the street from an elementary school. I have a great interest in getting the school kids into the park. There is graffiti on the trees and evidence of adolescent partying. If we get the grade school kids into the park, they’ll grow into teenagers who have a better sense of the treasure this is. Also, when we begin working on trails, the park can provide a safe route to school – currently, kids who live on the west side of the park have to walk blocks out of their way or get driven.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

Tags: commentary, community outreach, library utilities and center committee, seattle city council, urban restoration

  • New terms of service

    Because of the new terms of service, I am deleting my LiveJournal permanently.

  • Book Notes

    Only two books in February -- guess I was hit more strongly by malaise than I thought. Also, i was sick for a week. Four Modern Prophets William M.…

  • YESC Seattle at Golden Gardens

    About 25-30 high school students from YESC Seattle ( YMCA Earth Services Corps) joined us at Golden Gardens on Saturday, Jan. 30. We removed ivy…

Comments for this post were disabled by the author