Save the Last Trees in the Port!

There is a Port meeting on Wednesday, July 13 from 5:30pm to 7pm online about cutting down trees to make way for more off-dock container storage– please join and testify in favor of protecting these trees!

Sent 13 May 2022

Dear Port of Tacoma,

It has come to our attention that some of the last remaining trees in the port may be slated for removal in order to create more off-deck container storage (parcels 72, 85, 87).

Is there a way we can work together to help protect these trees? And plant additional trees throughout the port to help improve the environment for workers and wildlife, fight the heat island effect, and help clean the air?

Have you ever felt your body and mind relax when stepping into a forest, like at Point Defiance? The psychological benefits of trees and natural landscapes are many. In workplaces, increased access to nature has been found not only to boost employee morale, but also to increase efficiency, decrease stress, and increase job satisfaction. We would love for our community members who work in the port to experience these benefits.

Trees also provide shade and help combat the heat-island effect. As we saw last summer, we are bound to experience more days of extreme heat. Heat has been shown to increase levels of anger and aggression. In the map below, you can see how the port, and parts of downtown Tacoma, retained heat overnight due to the lack of tree canopy.

Another benefit of trees, of course, is that they help clean our air, removing pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter (PM). As I’m sure you are aware, particulate matter pollution is of particular concern, being linked to many adverse health impacts, and comes especially from diesel engines. Wouldn’t it be great to help protect workers’ health in the port while we transition to a completely electric logistics infrastructure?

As you can see from these maps, this cluster of trees are pretty much the last ones outside of the Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands:

As site stewards of the nearby open space now called qʷiqʷəlut (formerly Rhone Poulenc), 350 Tacoma volunteers regularly see birds flying from those trees to this little salt marsh area. Many bird species rely on an abundant tree canopy to move about safely and of course to nest. And some have even spotted an eagle nest in this cluster of trees.

We appreciate seeing the Port adopt the use of electric cargo trucks and undertaking the Lower Wapato Creek habitat restoration project. We would be thrilled to support more such efforts as well as encouraging an increased tree canopy in the area.

Please let us know how we can work together to preserve and enhance the tree canopy in the Port of Tacoma. We know that this will benefit workers, wildlife, and the city as a whole.


Daniel Villa
Nakanee Fernandez
Janeen Provazek
Chelsea Vetter
Volunteers, 350 Tacoma

Julie Andrzejewski
Ellen Floyd
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Tacoma

Robin Evans-Agnew, PhD, RN,
Planetary Health Nurse
3015 N 15th Street
Tacoma, WA, 98406