In late 2014, the Waldo Hospital site next to Maple Leaf Park on 15th Avenue NE was sold at auction to satisfy back mortgage payments. In early 2015, the site was purchased by Aegis Living. Aegis is currently building an assisted living facility on the site. As you can read below, this will not affect Waldo Woods — which are preserved permanently through the King County Conservation easement.
Aegis presented very early plans and gathered feedback at a well-attended January 2015 General Meeting. They made additional presentations at the April 2015 meeting of more advanced drawings. They are very interested in working with the community, something we welcome.
Seattle Audubon Society recognition
In an evening ceremony Thursday, June 17, the Seattle Audubon Society presented their 2010 Conservation Award to the Maple Leaf Community Council and Menachem Mendel Seattle Chedar for permanently preserving Waldo Woods.
Seattle Audubon’s annual Conservation Award is given to the individual or group in the greater Seattle community who has made a unique and significant contribution to the protection of birds and wildlife habitat, using creative means for engaging and inspiring the public. Founded in 1916, Seattle Audubon members and volunteers have continually worked for the protection, restoration and preservation of natural habitat for birds and other wildlife.
MLCC President Marc Phillips, MLCC Waldo Working Group Chair David Miller, and the head of MMSC’s day school Rabbi Yossi Charytan accepted the awards on behalf of their organizations.
MLCC sincerely thanks Seattle Audubon for this kind honor and their support in our multi-year effort to save Waldo Woods.
Waldo Woods permanently saved
After a hiccup in April 2010 caused by Camp Fire refusing to sign necessary paperwork, we are happy to report Waldo Woods has been permanently saved (again). Our thanks go to MMSC for agreeing to meet Camp Fire’s aggressive financial demands even though none of the other leinholders made similar demands. MMSC’s purchase of the property enabled the preservation of Waldo Woods and Waldo Hospital.
It is a big deal to have pulled off this preservation. It resulted from years of hard work by our community: hundreds of letters from people and organizations across Seattle, thousands of hours of volunteer time, and tens of thousands of dollars in donations to cover legal fees.
Maple Leaf’s effort affected Seattle beyond Waldo Woods. Two Seattle City Council Resolutions, new tree grove policies, new tree regulations, and an Urban Forestry Commission all directly or indirectly resulted from our effort. Not only did our community work with others across the city to save Waldo Woods, we joined with other groups to have a permanent, lasting effect on tree preservation across the entire city.
Maple Leafers should be proud of this effort and outcome.
City Council passes ordinance enabling Waldo Woods preservation
In March 2010, the Seattle City Council passed Ordinance 116794. This ordinance represents the last step in the process where the Seattle Parks Department takes possession of a conservation easement for Waldo Woods.
The effect of the conservation easement is the permanent preservation of Waldo Woods, an urban grove of mature, native Douglas firs.The Maple Leaf Community Council applied for a King County Conservation Futures grant three years ago in the hopes of saving Waldo Woods, an intact and healthy 80 tree grove on the eastern 1/3 of the Waldo Hospital property at 15th Avenue NE and NE 85th Street. The council succeeded in its pitch, and secured a $300,000 grant from King County to preserve Waldo Woods.
In late 2009, the Seattle Parks Department agreed to hold the conservation easement. That helped finalize negotiations between MLCC, MMSC, and Parks for the permanent preservation of this unique urban tree grove.
Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder
On July 23, 2009, the Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder (MMSC) Jewish Day School announced the purchase of the Waldo Hospital Site. MMSC planned to remodel Waldo Hospital into a school, returning the building to the educational function for which it was created. MMSC has also indicated a willingness to preserve Waldo Woods.
Maple Leaf wins appeal, 2009
The Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board, an elected body representing over 3,400 homes and businesses in north Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood, announces today a successful outcome for their King County Superior Court case filed as part of an ongoing effort to positively affect development at the site of historic Waldo Hospital. Read the press release here.
The primary focus of both our Hearing Examiner appeal and our appeal to the King County Superior Court was the environmental health danger of the lead dust from demolition of Waldo Hospital. Peer-reviewed researched presented by our community experts at trial showed lead dust from demolition will reach the reservoir, the ballfields in the park, neighboring single-family homes, and school bus stops in the area.
The city placed no meaningful requirements on the demolition, and the judge agreed with our arguments that this was not enough protection under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). He remanded this section of the process back to the City, telling the Hearing Examiner that mitigation like placing the entire building inside a sealed tent before demolition was required before the project can move forward.
Maple Leaf Appeals DPD Decision
On May 1, 2008 Mayor Nickels’ Department of Planning and Development (DPD) issued a “Determination of Non-Significance” (DNS) for the proposed project at Waldo Hospital. In the DNS, there was no indication DPD seriously considers Waldo Woods important. They also don’t consider the release of toxic demolition dust important. File documents obtained via Public Disclosure Request show the Mayor’s DPD broke their own rules to issue the decision on the developer’s timeline instead of taking the care necessary to make an intelligent decision. The Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Boards’ appeal runs 35 pages. The first 8 pages of the appeal are notable in that they only deal with errors or omissions of fact. These nearly 60 items aren’t disagreements or differences of interpretation — they are factual mistakes and omissions made by DPD while rushing to meet the developer’s timelines. Click here to see Maple Leaf’s appeal document. This appeal took place in August 2008. The hearing examiner decided against the community, and her decision was appealed to King County Superior Court on March 13, 2009.
Guest Editorial in Seattle Times
The Seattle Times published a guest editorial from the Maple Leaf Community Council about Waldo Woods. We point out that the Mayor has authored Agendas, Initiatives, and Plans. Despite this, we’re not saving significant number of trees from the pressure of development. The editorial pointed out strong leadership will be required to start saving trees, and offered Waldo Woods as a test case to turn the best intentions into reality.
Maple Leaf Community Council’s official comment letter
The Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board submitted formal comments concerning the proposal and the SEPA environmental checklist submitted by the developer. This document, running about 50 pages, has received high marks from our community, environmental groups, other neighborhoods, and the City. This letter joined over 130 letters written about this project since January 1, 2008 — and over 150 letters about the project written in 2007. Click here to access this document.