Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New tree plantings approved; resident wants them to be native

Pateros City Council

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PATEROS – The Pateros City Council approved a site plan at its regular September meeting for new tree plantings along Warren Avenue.

A Warren Avenue resident requested that the council consider planting native trees rather than non-native species.

The city approved the plan on the recommendation of two Community Informational Workshops held on Sept. 5 and 12 and studied tree education and selection for Warren Avenue.

Warren Avenue resident Eric Forner wants to see native plants in front of his property. He noted that Native Americas have lived in the area for thousands of years while later immigrants who established the city are relative newcomers.

“My question is whether the tree planting commission is going to consider using native plants?” Forner asked. “I know they have not been used in any other city and maybe Pateros could be the first and be a trendsetter.”

Forner offered the council some ideas.

“We do have a local nursery in Twisp – I think it’s called Methow Natives,” Forner said. “Rob Crandall could supply nursery stock for several different varieties, and it would be a fraction of the cost of importing exotic species from wherever they come from.”

Crandal, a native plant specialist, owns Methow Natives, the only comprehensive supplier of native plants and seeds in Okanogan County.

City Administrator Jord Wilson responded that Pateros has used native species in other parts of the city,

“It’s difficult - as was discussed at the workshop – to sometimes bring native plantings into urban settings because the uses don’t really mesh well,” Wilson said. “A Ponderosa tree is monstrous, and they just don’t do well in sidewalks.”

Wilson pointed out areas where natives are used.

“We planted a lot of native species in our parks where we feel they are appropriate in size and use along the shoreline,” Wilson said. “We do have a native planting next spring at Ives Landing; some willow species which are difficult in urban areas because they are susceptible to disease and so forth.”

Wilson said Crandall is going to help the city with the native plantings scheduled to go in at Ives Landing.

Wilson also pointed out that the Memorial to the Methow in Lakeshore Park has all but one native plant used there.

“In a street zone you’ve got 45 feet of pavement, sidewalks, river rock, so the environment is very different than a native environment,” Wilson said. “That was part of the reason we brought in a landscape architect — the tree expert to help us for long term.”

Wilson summed up the tree workshop’s purpose in one sentence: “Suitable trees for suitable space, and that’s where that selection comes from.”

Forner suggested that native plants adapted to survive here would require less water and maintenance over the years than exotics.

Council member Chantel Poole countered that the trees chosen were for reasons of not only the street growing conditions but also for their beautification, shade, and canopies that did not fit the native species mold.

“It wasn’t that natives weren’t considered,” added Wilson. “They didn’t fit the goals set out by the workshop.”

The Warren Avenue Sidewalk Project was completed last summer and funded by a $364,758 grant from the State Transportation Improvement Board. It extends the sidewalk from Chris Street on its east end to the tennis courts on Riverside Drive on the west. The project includes an eight-foot green buffer space, rock-filled biofiltration swales, ADA curb ramps, and crosswalks.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483, michael@ward.media

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