Letter to the editor: The Perrinville Woods beg to be preserved

This 4.95-acre woodland is privately owned. The owner has proposed a 14-home subdivision for this property. That proposal, however, has been put on hold as the city approved a moratorium on all subdivisions while they finish updating the city tree code.
The property has a unique natural terrain of deep ravines and steep slopes and rather than being developed would best serve the community if it was purchased for conservation purposes.
Preserving this urban forest in its natural state would keep the Perrinville Creek’s drainage and headwaters from being impacted by any housing development. It would also protect a wooded wildlife corridor that is important for both resident wildlife and migratory birds.
I personally have no idea if the landowner would be interested in selling the woods or what value he places on the property. My only purpose of this letter is to make an 11th-hour appeal for some individual(s) or organization to consider the possibility of acquiring the property for conservation purposes.
Preserving this property could establish someone’s legacy for having made a difference in protecting one of the last undeveloped and unique woodlands in Edmonds. Anyone choosing to create such a lasting legacy would be making an important environmental contribution to future generations.
There are several agencies such as Natural Resource and Habitat Conservation and the State of Washington Recreation and Conservation Office plus the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program that may assist in habitat conservation. Land trusts, like the Trust for Public Land, Inc. and the Nature Conservancy will also acquire and hold land for eventual acquisition by a public agency.
It would be of great service to the residents of the city of Edmonds if you or someone you know has the interest and desire to pursue the acquisition of the woods.
Hopefully, somehow, someway, the woods can be saved from being clear-cut and graded beyond recognition.
Duane Farmen
Seaview neighborhood resident
  1. Forterra / Land for Good, a regional nonprofit active within urban areas, is another organization to contact. If the landowner were able to record a conservation easement over the property it would be a significant tax reduction and charitable giving benefit for the property owner and a win win for our community.


  2. Thank you for this. As a resident of Edmonds and 37 years in the Perrinville area I have experienced firsthand the devastation of removing natural habitat for subdivisions. For 26 years I never experienced anything but beauty and wonder in my little corner of Edmonds until the bulldozers came in. My son broke his neck in a diving accident came home as a C4 quad in October 2007 and two weeks later I experienced a devastating costly flood and due to the nature of the flood, my insurance did not cover surface flooding. I wasn’t the only one – I had 5 subsequent floods. This will happen again if this isn’t stopped for many of us. PLEASE, and thank you for your appeal.

  3. I think we forget that all of our houses were built where trees were once. Should we tear down your houses? It seems like everyone wants to infringe on an owner’s rights to his own land!

    1. I often think about the issue you raise Karen: aren’t we all guilty of damage to the environment? Of course we are. But we can make some restitution by learning how to minimize future damage — and then acting on that information.

  4. With the Perrinville Creek recently revealed to be in crisis, Mr. Farmen’s decades-long battle to protect the Perrinville woods takes on new urgency. Those trees are doing an important job in mitigating further damage to the Perrinville watershed and the creek.

  5. I am assuming that the land owner had to apply to DNR (Department of Natural Resources) through the Forest Practice Application process, which then must be approved by the Pollution Control Hearing Board. Certainly the steep slopes and ravines along with any streams must have been pointed out to DNR. Were any restrictions on construction placed upon the builder? Set backs from streams and steep ravines?

  6. Since the average McMansion in Edmonds now sells in the $1,000,000 range on up you can figure this owner would need to get at least $14,000,000 for the land and probably a lot more. This owner’s benevolence would have to roughly equal that of Jesus to do this on some sort tax benefit basis or betterment of mankind scheme.

    That said, as a city, we have a lot of money earmarked for the civic park renewal that has been postponed due to the virus. Civic Park is already a pretty nice facility. Maybe some or most of those funds could be freed up to buy at least some of this development track for another city park? Just maybe a hefty amount of cash in his pocket might make this private developer get in touch with his/her better angels; but I sort of doubt it. If I were he/she, I would expect a lot of green to cross my palms to make this work.

    Without a miracle of some kind, the trees will probably go and the houses will get built. But, the citizens will be blessed with an irritating tree code which requires intrusive permits ,inspections, more high paid staff to enforce the rules and doesn’t save any trees. Some of this depends on how deep the developer’s pockets are to fight the city in the Courts. We know the current mayor and current council are not going to listen to ALL the citizens on this, only the ones who agree with them.

  7. Thank you Mr. Farmen for your stead fast commitment to our environment and our community .
    I also appeal to our community to come together to save this last big grove of big trees in our City (excepting park land).
    I appeal to our local government officials to step up and save this valuable environmental resource.
    I appeal to local businesses to come together to save this “last of its kind” property.
    J appeal to local environmental groups to come together to save this ecologically critical grove of over 200 significant trees.
    I appeal to the current property owner to put that land into a conservation trust to ensure its survival, for all to enjoy for time immemorial.
    I appeal to the Parks Department to acquire this property and save it as a tree sanctuary and a public tree preserve.
    Please people , don’t let this one slip through our fingers. It is too precious for it to be razed for just 14 luxury homes.
    This land is a critical environmental area that should never be developed .
    Thank you everyone for your help in Saving the Perrinville Woods !

  8. With the increased danger to Perrinville Creek, why can’t something be done to save this heavily treed land that drains into the creek?
    What about our City Council and Mayor? Can they free up park renewal funds? Can’t zoning or environmental regulations work to protect this area that drains into Perrinville Creek? I’ve often seen Bald Eagles in those woods. What about eagle nests and animal habitats?
    Something must be done or we will end up with level, bulldozed, bare land and fourteen houses.
    Isn’t this what city government is for, to protect our city?
    Trudy Dana

  9. Washington’s total land area is 42.5 million acres. Half of this is forested. Nearly 36% of the forestland is privately owned and 64% is owned by the government. This is where wood for a house is sustainably grown and harvested, not from cities or towns like Perrinville.

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