Gathering planned Sunday at Lions Park sequoia tree

PORT ANGELES — A community gathering for the Lions Park sequoia is planned for Sunday.

The holiday-themed “Secret Sequoia” gathering will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the neighborhood park at 601 E. Whidby Ave. in Port Angeles.

Guests are encouraged to bring a gift and mingle with neighbors near the 110-foot redwood that is scheduled to be removed by a city contractor.

Hot herbal tea and cookies will be provided, organizers say.

City officials have said the sequoia must be removed because its two main stems create a safety hazard and its shallow roots are causing damage to neighboring property.

Tree advocates have said the safety concerns could be alleviated by cabling the tree and that the property damage has been overstated.

Supporters have hung Christmas ornaments on the lower branches of the sequoia and posted signs that read: “Protect Life” and “Save Our Sequoia.”

“This tree has provided myself and many of my neighbors with a unique community gathering place,” said Tyson Minck, one of 11 concerned citizens who gathered at the Port Angeles library Monday to brainstorm ways to save the sequoia.

“I wouldn’t be hanging ornaments on this tree had it not been for the city’s call for removal of it.”

The city hired a contractor Nov. 27 to remove the tree by the end of this month. No date for tree removal has been announced.

Minck said the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Victoria and Olympia have created ecosystems in their parks that contain majestic old growth trees.

“Once you see the old growth forests of Northern California, or once you see the old cedars that used to cover all of Port Angles, you can never un-remember that,” Minck said.

City Manager Nathan West has said the Port Angeles City Council and staff “want to encourage continued participation and citizen involvement in improving outcomes for our local tree canopy.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or atrollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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