Rare Garry oaks (also known as Oregon white oaks, Quercus garryana) are under constant threat in Lakewood, Washington.
Lakewood has one of the highest remaining concentrations of these trees in the mere 3%-5% that is estimated to remain of their original range. Rather than vigorous protection, however, the city has a very weak tree preservation code (and often the meager protections that officially exist on paper are disregarded anyway).
In 2020, the city of Lakewood rezoned large areas of formerly residential and almost semi-rural areas, includng some parcels with large oaks, to industrial for a new warehouse district.
At the same time, conveniently, the city also changed its tree preservation code to strip the trees of their protections on industrially zoned parcels, unless deemed critical habitat. Not surprisingly, consultants in the pay of developers do not seem to find critical habitat often. We have seen some of the SEPA and consultants' environmental reports, which raise many questions.
This situation has led to the wanton destruction of Garry oaks, even hundreds of years old. This extremely rare habitat is associated with many different species, including endangered and threatened ones, and was an important element in the food economy of the native peoples, but this does not matter if quick money is to be had from warehouse construction.
The city also does not adequately protect them in residential neighborhoods.
Take action — these pages are intended to make it easy.
They also are intended to provide information to further public knowledge about these important trees and their fascinating and beautiful habitat.
The oaks thank you.