Letters to the Editor

Saving the jewel of Fidalgo

Thanks for the March 14 informative article about recent developments with our town’s only Fidalgo Avenue Garry oak tree. There are a couple of minor misquotes regarding my statements in the article. First, I said that four, (not two) of the six trunks would have been destroyed under the developer’s granted variance. Second, I said that it was likely the tree would die within 10 years (not in one year) under the conditions of the variance, which allowed for destruction of four of the six tree trunks, 40 percent of the tree’s canopy and 40 percent of the root structure. I made this statement after consulting with Garry oak experts, arborists and horticultural professors about this tree.

Also, Garry oak experts have stated that this “tree” is most likely two trees, each with three trunks that together form one canopy. The Fidalgo oak is the last remaining “tree” in the downtown business district and is located on the historic property of our town’s first mayor, Jerome Ely. This oak, along with Garry oaks on Midway, SE Eighth and nearby are our town’s oldest “residents.” These oaks were here long before the first pioneers set foot on the land, and long before the first buildings in Oak Harbor were erected.

Our local residents treasure this Fidalgo tree. A photo of it was submitted in Harbor Pride’s “Treasured Places and Things” photo contest (available at Sno-Isle library reference desk). Property owners that use good business sense create sustainable developments that incorporate rather than destroy our town’s unique historic and treasured features. We need to avoid becoming “Anytown” USA. Retaining the irreplaceable majestic landscape of our town’s Fidalgo oak “tree” is good for local business, for residents, tourists, and future generations.

Melissa Duffy

Chair, Harbor Pride

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