Felling of trees angers residents

SNOHOMISH – Developers have removed many trees near a stream at the site of a major shopping center planned on Bickford Avenue, angering several city residents.

Developers had the city’s go-ahead for clearing the site, provided the stream, called Myrick’s Fork, was dried up and no longer active, said Corbitt Loch, the city’s director of planning and development services.

It turns out the stream is still alive, though it is dry right now, Loch said.

The city investigated after receiving complaints last week from people saying the stream was still active.

On Friday, the site was visited by Dustin Hinson, a fisheries biologist and wetland ecologist the city hired.

Hinson, of Steward and Associates in Snohomish, concluded that the stream gets water seasonally.

“It had evidence there is a streambed and there are stream banks,” Hinson said.

The city now plans to create a recovery plan for Myrick’s Fork. Until that’s done, construction crews will not work near the stream.

Wakefield Properties of Bellevue is clearing the area to develop about 300,000 square feet of retail space. Wakefield is required to provide a 50-foot wide buffer between the development and the stream.

Home Depot and Fred Meyer are interested in the shopping center, Loch said.

Bob Heirman, 73, a longtime Snohomish resident, said the city should have known better to protect the stream.

Without trees, Myrick’s Fork will deteriorate, Heirman said. It’s one of many little streams that are vital to salmon runs in Cemetery Creek.

“The city hasn’t been a good steward of any streams,” he said.

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