The trunk and stump of a felled sequoia tree sits at Lions Park in Port Angeles on Thursday after it was taken down by the city Jan. 3. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The trunk and stump of a felled sequoia tree sits at Lions Park in Port Angeles on Thursday after it was taken down by the city Jan. 3. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Speakers set for Lions Park celebration on MLK Day

PORT ANGELES — A community celebration is planned at Lions Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

Save Our Sequoia is hosting “Infinite Hope” from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Port Angeles park at 601 E. Whidby Ave.

Speakers will discuss civil rights, ecology, affordable housing, education and other issues.

“Meet fellow community members and organizations working toward positive social and environmental change,” the group said.

Community members will give short speeches inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, including “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

Hope also was the name given to a 110-foot sequoia tree that stood in Lions Park until the city cut it down Jan. 3.

Save Our Sequioa is composed of park neighbors and other citizens who fought to save the tree.

Speakers scheduled for the event are:

• Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, constitutional law attorney and Port Angeles City Council member.

• Ron Richards, Save the Olympic Peninsula (STOP) chair.

• Jim Waddell, Dam Sense founder and retired U.S. Army Corps civil engineer.

• Hilary Powers, Compassion Campaign of Clallam County steering committee member.

• Shawne Johnson, Port Angeles High School teacher.

• Jessica Elofson, member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Native American interventionist at Port Angeles School District.

• Jesse Charles, youth outreach coordinator at Serenity House of Clallam County.

• Shewa Dedeke, writer, public speaker and activist who uses vulnerability as her art form.

Tea, coffee and cookies will be served. Ivy and Joel Ricci will perform live music at the park.

“Recent events have energized Lions Park as gathering place for people who care about the well-being of our environment and community,” said Elizabeth Dunne of Save Our Sequoia.

“We thought what better way to honor MLK than to seek inspiration from his wisdom through the voices of diverse community members creating positive social and environmental change. We must come together to speak for what is just and never lose hope that together we can make a difference.”

City officials have said the non-native sequoia had to be removed because its co-dominate main stems posed a safety hazard and because its shallow roots were damaging nearby property.

Save Our Sequioa members vigorously disputed the city’s claims.

Schromen-Wawrin made a motion to delay removal of the sequoia in a City Council meeting Dec. 18 after Dunne obtained an arborist’s report that said the tree could be made safe by an inexpensive dynamic cabling system.

The motion died for a lack of a second.

John Bornsworth, Peninsula Urban Forestry president, complied two years worth of information on the events that led to the removal of the Lions Park sequoia in a blog on the Peninsula Urban Forestry website.

The Jan. 8 post, entitled “An Expert’s Findings and Review of Poor City Planning,” can be found at www.peninsulaurbanforestry.com.

The city posted information about the sequoia in a Dec. 5 news release. Go to www.tinyurl.com/PDN-sequoia.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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