A coalition of Pullman residents who are trying to save the downtown trees are calling on their supporters to voice their concerns to city council during a town hall Tuesday night.
The group called Save Downtown Trees is hoping to preserve the roughly 75 trees on Main Street. City of Pullman officials confirmed last week that the trees will have to be replaced as part of the Main Street reconstruction project. The city will be spending 9 million dollars in federal government coronavirus relief money to rebuild Main downtown. The trees were planted about 25 years ago. City officials say they must be replaced to protect the new sidewalks from being damaged by the shallow roots. Transplanting the trees was also explored but officials say it’s not feasible due to the risk of root damage. City officials also note that the project will bring more trees to downtown than what’s there now. The new trees will be in wells with automatic irrigation to minimize potential damage to the new sidewalks.
The Save Downtown Trees coalition wants the trees to be saved to help combat climate change. The group says it will take up to 15 years to replace the shade that’s currently created by the large trees. The coalition also argues that the trees are healthy and disputes city officials claim that they sought public input about replacing the trees.
Tuesday night’s Pullman City Council Town Hall is from 7:00 to 9:00 at city hall. The City of Pullman’s Spokeswoman Sarah Phelan-Blamires issued a press release Monday reminding the public to be respectful during the town hall. Phelan-Blamires asks citizens to not criticize individuals and do not interrupt the speaker. Only people at the meeting will be able to comment. The public can listen over the phone live to the meeting by calling 1-855-200-4555. The town hall will not be streamed live but it will be posted on the city’s YouTube channel by Thursday night.
The project is expected to go out to bid this fall. The reconstruction of Main Street will begin in May and is scheduled to be complete before the first Washington State University home football game next fall. Main Street will be closed during the roughly four month project next summer.