Letters: Federal Way’s symbolic tree and drug problems

Letters to the Editor for April 22.

Drug problems

I am pleased that Federal Way is making some effort to deal with the fentanyl problem. I live across the street from a druggies hangout behind utility boxes. This is right where the school bus stops. The drug users are smoking from aluminum squares right in front of the kids. My street is a well know drug distribution spot. I see drug deals every day, several times a day. No one seems to be able to stop them.

I have come to the conclusion that these people don’t want help. They want to be free to do their drugs, which are very addictive. Granted it is a mental health issue, but first you have to get them dried out and that will only happen if they are arrested. They are stealing merchandise and property to pay for these drugs. We have to get them off the street first and then deal with the mental health issues.

Cathryn Maloney, Federal Way

More than a tree

In 1976, as a part of our U.S. Bicentennial Celebration, George Weyerhaeuser, planted a direct descendant sapling on the Weyerhaeuser Campus. Seedlings had been gathered from the original Medicine Creek Treaty Tree, which he grew in his nursery near Olympia on behalf of the local tribes. This tree is now 46 years old and stands in the way of warehouse development. A plaque commemorating a daughter and granddaughter tree (2013) were planted in Thurston County states that planting a seedling from the Medicine Tree symbolizes the importance of the treaty signing, the exoneration of Chief Leschi, and the importance of the relationship between the tribes and local government.

It was decided during the application process that this tree was not significant. I believe these reasons explain why this tree in Federal Way is of great value.

As other more genetically distant trees has been planted, celebrated and commemorated, how is it that this tree, cared for by the U.S. lumber baron is not significant? Had it not been for George’s generosity and relationship with tribes, there would be no trees in which to remind us of our past and present actions. I hope you will agree that IRG (present owners) should do the right thing by the tribes and our community, to be apart of our history, instead of erasing it.

I ask for your support in contacting dostenson@industrialrealtygroup.com and ask him to preserve this tree at all costs. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to engage the community in a seed gathering/planting program? Our school children could be educated on the importance of replacing our much-needed tree canopy, stewardship and our local history. We can achieve greatness together.

Suzanne Vargo, Federal Way

Warehouse vs. environment

This week began the extensive tree removal on the iconic former Weyerhaeuser Headquarters site for the construction of five warehouses. Tree cutting has begun in the uniquely zoned Corporate Park eliminating vegetation, wildlife habitat, trails, and adding to the Federal Way I-5 corridor’s toxic air on a planet suffering from debilitating climate change made worse by deforestation. Thousands of trees will be destroyed and replaced with impervious parking lots and roof tops, not to mention traffic congestion and air pollution resulting from hundreds and potentially thousands of additional trucks and cars.

One of the trees slated for removal is a one of a kind seedling from a now dead Douglas fir tree under which the tribal Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854 was signed. Almost fifty years ago George Weyerhaeuser, President of the Weyerhaeuser Company, planted this ceremonial seedling which has grown to over a foot wide and more than 100 feet tall. A testimony and legacy for current and future generations of the significance of a tree providing historical value, clean air and beauty.

Unfortunately by current city approved plans, this tree is in the path of warehouse development and it will be deforested along with thousands of other trees in order to lower taxes and create jobs.

I do not think the cost to health and environment is worth it. Do you?

Richard Pierson, Federal Way

Children are much more than a test score

I like to believe that I am pretty good at spotting the obvious, like sports fans calling a fumble faster than the “experts” up in the booth. We see our scholars taking college level courses, graduate high school at stellar rates, enter community colleges and universities to survive the rigors of higher education at a high percentage, yet state run computer tests say our children are woefully less educated than some standard child. It insults the hard working families and their scholars who are fully engaged in their studies or activities knowing full well they are not “less than” anybody.

Critics cite news and real estate websites using state scores to “rank” our schools. They then insinuate that somehow our children must be less educated than the children of friends or relatives in other cities, counties, or states. I’ll never accept the state test results as gospel. Considering how it takes several hours of testing to assess and qualify candidates for a license to practice a complex profession like engineering. How can it possibly take several hours and multiple days sitting in front of a computer screen to determine if your child can read, write or do arithmetic?

If the state test was gospel, we would have flunked a ton of scholars who are now succeeding in colleges and careers. My penchant for the obvious tells me that despite several hours and days of computer testing, children are much more than a score. A coach knows how good the players are. I think that goes for our teachers too. Until convinced otherwise, I would trust a teacher over any state run computer score. There needs to be an ultra-compelling reason to go down the dark path of “teaching to the test” just to chase these scores. That would be a horrendous mistake for our children.

Hiroshi Eto, Federal Way