The other day, I came across a scene of destruction and death at the intersection of Hastings and Division on Spokane’s far North Side.
The scene of death didn’t cause me grief or horror. I didn’t shudder at what used to be alive, but now lay on the ground, lifeless, limbs missing, parts severed and scattered. I felt only disappointment and anger.
What had died was not people, but trees. Useless, in-the-way, good-for-nothing trees. A new Fred Meyer store is being constructed at Hastings and Division. Long ago, I wrote a letter to Fred Meyer headquarters in Portland. I urged the corporation to consider sparing some of the tall ponderosas and to incorporate them into the landscaping plans. But the site has been virtually cleared.
A property rights activist would tell me that the land is privately owned and the owners can do what they damn well please. Maybe so. But I am still disturbed that something I value so highly can be wiped out with so little thought.
I am not saying that no trees should be cut. It’s inevitable that trees must come down. I have had a hand in it myself. I once had a healthy 90-foot Douglas fir taken down in my back yard to allow the remaining trees room to grow. Nor am I in favor of a cessation of logging. Wood is too valuable a resource not to use. And was not the Earth created for people to use?
But the desire to use is too heavily favored, especially among men - the traditional builders and doers of our society. Often, men don’t want to think. They just want to do. So at Hastings and Division, a natural part of our landscape has been wiped out.
Sure, we’ll soon see something growing there again. There’ll be “trees” that grow about as tall as me, all lined up and evenly spaced. There’ll be shrubs and bushes, maybe even flowers, too. It’ll look like any other recently landscaped development in Spokane, Seattle or Minneapolis. Seems like all the landscape designers attended the same school.
But why couldn’t the ponderosas and native vegetation have been used for the landscaping? It saddens me that there is no respect and reverence for what was here before us. Why can’t we give attention and appreciation to the things that define this area in which we live and make it a unique and beautiful place?
Fred Meyer, of the hundreds and hundreds of trees you had mowed down, couldn’t you have saved 10? It would have made a huge difference.
MEMO: Your Turn is a feature of the Wednesday and Saturday Opinion pages. To submit a Your Turn column for consideration, contact Rebecca Nappi at 459-5496 or Doug Floyd at 459-5466 or write Your Turn, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210-1615.
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