Monday, April 13, 2009


Third Avenue in Belltown has always been pretty ghetto. After Virginia Street, there's very little retail all the way to Denny. It's a jumble of fairly anonymous, utilitarian and (except for the Vine Court) quite ugly buildings. The trees lining the sidewalks contributed to its overall ghetto feel. They were mostly honey locusts. I use the past tense because most of them are being cut down. And the feeling about them is such that their stumps are being torn out with heavy equipment and the sidewalks that once hosted them are being obliterated. Here's the scene:

From Virginia (there's a newly-planted tree in the foreground)...

From Lenora...

To Battery (the sidewalk has been completely replaced here)...

And down to Vine (ditto).

The reason for the purge is apparently because all of these trees had contracted some kind of fungus due to this crummy town's incessant rains. My friend Jim tells me that this kind of tree does better in drier climes. They apparently thrive in Eastern Washington. Once again, city planners should be saluted for their foresight. Plant lots of trees that don't do well in a marine climate! Yeah, that'll work!

Personally, I kind of hated those trees. They were late to get their leaves and early to lose them. And, owing to the tiny size of said leaves, they didn't give very much shade at all. In the fall and winter, their bare, gnarled limbs looked completely sinister. I can't tell what they've planted in their stead, but it probably can't be any worse. The only purpose they served in the 20 or so years they've stood along Third is that they've given drunks something else to bump into. And that's about it.

But they're not all gone. A few remain.

If you feel so inclined, pray for the survivors. These three are at 3rd & Virginia. There are others down by Clay, Broad and Denny.

Me, I say good riddance.

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