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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Judge halts tree-cutting near High School

A King County Superior Court judge on Wednesday blocked the Seattle School District's plans to cut down about 100 trees on the campus of Ingraham High School later this week.

After a one-hour hearing, Judge John Erlick granted a temporary restraining order to a group calling itself Save Our Trees, which has argued that the trees, many decades-old evergreens, provide a needed green space, a habitat for birds and a buffer between the school and its neighbors.

The judge set a hearing date of Aug. 25 on the group's request for a temporary injunction. The school district had planned to cut down the trees Friday and Saturday as part of a major renovation and expansion of the school, which was built in 1959.

A spokesman for the district said Wednesday's ruling was not a surprise and that the district expects to prevail when the issue is fully heard in court. A hearing examiner earlier had supported the district's plan.

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