Fianna Dickson, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Communication Manager, 509.625.6297
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 3:05 p.m.
Urban Forestry and Park Operations crews are working diligently to address down or high-risk trees at more than 25 park properties following the January 13, 2021 wind storm. We’re working in a phased approach, tackling the most critical issues first. Full removal of debris will likely take several weeks.
The highest risk trees were addressed the day or two following the storm. However, dangerous conditions may still exist, with the possibility of falling trees and limbs.
Our top priority is safety for both residents and our staff completing this important work. Comstock Park is temporarily closed for this reason, but the community should avoid all parks and natural areas with visible damage, and remain cautious -- even in areas without apparent damage.
To recover a portion of hauling and replacement costs, we are selling the viable timber. What remains will be donated to SNAP as firewood for low-income families, and the scraps will be chipped and used as mulch in our park system. Please do not remove wood from parks, it’s both a safety issue and a violation of the Spokane Municipal Code. Thank you for staying clear and allowing our crews to safely complete this important work.
Land Expressions volunteered to provide their services to help restore areas of significantly damaged landscape, utilizing their large equipment and skilled staff. We are grateful and appreciative of their generosity.
Damage assessment of park properties and amenities is ongoing. Once we have a clear inventory of the damage, we’ll formulate a mitigation plan that looks at tree replacements, amenity repairs (like playgrounds, benches), and funding opportunities. Ensuring a healthy tree canopy for Spokane is part of our SpoCanopy initiative in partnership with The Lands Council, and a replanting plan is in the works.
The lilac butterfly in Riverfront Park is on the damaged list. The butterfly has been moved to a safe location where engineers continue to inspect it to determine the cause and repair plan.
We appreciate park neighbors and visitors who can be additional sets of eyes and ears; please report concerns to 3-1-1. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as crews work to remove hazards, clear debris, and restore our beloved park system for all enjoy safely.