The Work Continues

This morning I woke up to the usual noises of destruction (I mean construction) behind my house in what was once called the Tiffany Park Woods and went to take a look.

This is what I saw.

Which is all fine and good but I certainly hope the brakes are in good working order.

~ Susanne

A Visit to Bellevue Botanical Garden

One sunny day earlier this summer my husband had to be in Bellevue so I hitched a ride and had him drop me off at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.  He was longer than we thought he would be, so I got to enjoy a very leisurely 3 hour visit, strolling through the garden at a snail’s pace, starting with the centerpiece, the Perennial Border.

The award-winning Perennial Border has year-round displays of flowers and according to the brochure, “is an example of a distinctively American-style-mixed-border and a living demonstration of what works best in Northwest gardens.”  I walked the paths through this living work of art admiring the variety of plants, their unique shapes and sizes, textures and colors.

I wandered through the Waterwise Garden and the Fuschia Garden,

the Native Discovery Garden and the Yao Garden, pausing to enjoy the hydrangeas along the trails that took me from one to another.

From the Lost Meadow Trail, I was delighted to discover this.

A nature trail through pristine woods, complete with a 150 ft suspension bridge over a steep ravine where you enjoy views of native understory and second-growth forest without trampling the forest floor. Oh, there is nothing like the Woods!

As much as I love cultivated gardens, I am partial to the Northwest Woods.  I was happy to wander alone on the peaceful paths under a canopy of big leaf maples and western red cedars, where birds and other wildlife make their homes undisturbed.  I was thankful these woods had been preserved and added to the Bellevue Botanical Garden. And I couldn’t help but wonder: what if the 22 acres known as the Tiffany Park Woods in Renton, those woods that were recently razed to the ground so ninety plus houses could go up; what if those woods had been preserved for all to enjoy, even as these woods in Bellevue had been?  I guess we will never know.

I continued back up the trail and waited for my ride and promised myself I would come back again to this wonderful place.

~ Susanne

The Gone Tiffany Park Woods

I must say that was fast. Not only have the trees and shrubs come down in what was formerly known as the Tiffany Park Woods, but the area has been pulverized into submission (and yes, dirt) with not a single green thing left, except for the few promised patches. Surprising?  Yes.

I knew the trees would go but I guess I held some notion that shrubs and understory would remain.  I mean, why take it all? Wouldn’t new homeowners want that vegetation around their houses? (Obviously I know nothing about construction.)  Anyway, it’s all gone and the land is being leveled for the infrastructure and houses to come. On the bright side, I won’t need an alarm for awhile since the heavy equipment rolls in around 7 and the noise and vibration shake me out of bed.

I’m also happy to report that Benji and Tiger are coping surprisingly well with all the commotion. They still want out all hours of the day and seem content with the new confines of their territory. (No more sneaking into the woods for them.)

I’m sorry the woods are gone, but I’m thankful my backyard still has enough trees on both sides of the fence for shade and privacy. And more sunshine in some spots where the tree cover was heavier.

So it’s time to move on and say goodbye to the Tiffany Park Woods. Still, if I had it to do over again, I would fight a little harder, maybe hug a few trees, to try to get the woods preserved and added to the city’s park system; an urban park where woodpeckers and owls could still live, with access and trails for all to enjoy.

Maybe next time.

~ Susanne

A Halt to the Work at the Tiffany Park Woods

Too little too late.  The beautiful Tiffany Park Woods are nearly gone, the birds and wildlife already evicted, the native flora disappeared. Still, I was heartened to know someone is paying attention to the promises made by the developer when they obtained the permit to raze these woods and replace them with 97 houses.   According to a story in today’s Renton Reporter, “a stop work order was issued after inspectors found two protected trees were removed from the site.”  I wondered why all had gone quiet.

“In order to lift the stop order, the developers will have to meet conditions set upon by the city, including paying a fine and replacing the two removed trees with 12 other trees. The city will decide on the types and locations of the trees at a later date. In addition, if the developers remove other protected trees once the stop work order is lifted, the city will revoke their permit and cease all construction.”  ~  Renton Reporter 6/28/17

There is some justice after all.

I visited the Woods earlier this spring before the work began to document their beauty.

For the last few weeks I have also documented their destruction, which has been far more difficult to observe than I had imagined.

I watched a panicked red-headed woodpecker fly to a large Douglas Fir in my yard (to take up residence I hope) after the large trees around him came down.  And I have never seen a sadder looking deer than this one recently taking refuge in a tiny patch of remaining woods as trees were felled nearby.  I hope he made it safely to a new home.

For several years, friends of the Tiffany Park Woods fought against this project and lost.  What they won were concessions from the builder including a tree retention plan as conditions for the permit. The work stoppage may only be temporary, but if it results in the saving of a few more trees, then it is worth it.  I’m glad the developer is being held accountable for the terms that were agreed upon.

~ Susanne

The Woodpecker

Today they arrived behind our house and I stood watching as the claw gripped the tree where it was thick and full of life and the saw ate through its girth and the claw hoisted it upward into the air and downward where it smashed to the ground where others lay and while I was watching I saw the bird land on the tree nearby and maybe I only imagined the panic of the small and fragile red-headed woodpecker as he climbed upward hoping this one would not come down, but I don’t think so.

~ Susanne

Urban Logging

After years of wrangling and delays, the logging of the Tiffany Park Woods is underway. It was only last week that I took this picture after being awakened by the chain saws.

This is the same location today.

The woods are no match for the heavy equipment assembled against them. I am over it. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m pleased to see many trees around the perimeter still standing. I wonder if the select few marvel that they were chosen while those on the ash heap wonder what they did wrong.

I assume all the displaced animals have been welcomed to new homes. Refugees of sorts. It will be interesting to watch as houses go up.

Progress I guess.

~ Susanne