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Community Survey Summaries

Updated: Nov 25, 2019

The first survey consisted of 21 questions focused on primarily gathering feedback regarding community viewpoints and perceptions relating to trees and the urban forest. The questions gathered information about the public’s opinion of current tree management performance, overall view on the health of the urban forest, important ecosystem benefits and services provided by trees, potential risks posed to the urban forest, and primary concerns regarding issues potentially caused by trees. Sociodemographic and geographic questions were also included to inform the analyses and subsequent surveys, meetings, and educational materials.

The first survey was released on August 26, 2019 and open until October 5, 2019. Online and printed copies were translated into the five most common non-English languages spoken in the City: Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Mandarin. These surveys were available online via SurveyMonkey and the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan website,

In addition to the online survey, 3,000 randomized addresses were generated across Tacoma’s five Councilmanic Districts and further randomized by land use (600 addresses per District) for printed mailings of the survey. This process included a reminder postcard sent two weeks after issuing the mailed survey. Recipients were offered the option to complete the mailed version or complete the survey online. Furthermore, hard copies of the survey were distributed at community meetings and lead-up events to Green Tacoma Day—distributed by Tacoma Tree Foundation and the Environmental Services Department—and also offered as requested. The City also utilized interns and AmeriCorps members to advertise the surveys at various locations across the Tacoma.

After closing the first round of community surveys, the data and summaries were exported from SurveyMonkey to complete more extensive analyses to inform the second round of surveys, community meetings, and strategies in this Plan. Completed hard copy surveys were manually entered into SurveyMonkey for analysis.

The second round of surveys consisted of seven questions pertaining to potential short- and long-term urban forestry strategies as well as the demographic and geographic questions provided in round one. Only an online version was offered this round and it was available from October 15, 2019 to October 30, 2019.

To incentivize survey responses for both rounds, all survey respondents not affiliated with the City were entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to a Tacoma restaurant of their choice.

Though the surveys results are not meant to be a consensus of Citywide values, concerns, ideas, or questions relating to the City's urban forest and is not the sole source of information used to develop this Plan's vision, goals, and strategies, they do provide valuable input for consideration. Additional opportunities for feedback were available at the October and November community meetings and the round two survey which is scheduled to be completed after completion of this Phase 1 report.

Community Survey #1

1,494 Responses

Congratulations to the randomly selected winner of the first survey drawing for the $50 gift card.

The winner has chosen the -Anthony's at Point Defiance- restaurant!

Thank you all for participating and stay tuned for the winner of the second survey drawing!

Themes of Survey #1, Question #15 Responses(605 Total Comments)

Level of Engagement

  • 30 submissions provided questions or other content actionable to the City.

  • 36 provided general comments supporting Tacoma’s urban forest, its management and funding.

  • 14 provided critical engagement about practices and policies associated with Tacoma’s urban forest.

  • 4 submissions were not supportive of further improvement or funding of the City’s urban forest.

Canopy Growth 30/30

  • 69 comments asking or recommended increasing planting and “more trees” throughout the city, within street right-of-way, green belts, City property and natural areas.

Resource Management – Street Trees

  • 26 comments specifically on right-of-way responsibilities: hazard identification, trimming and removal of right-of-way trees and infrastructure damage caused by right-of-way trees. A common theme was the lack of information available regarding the responsibilities of adjacent homeowner and the City.

  • 13 submitted references to sidewalk and infrastructure damage caused by right-of-way trees.

  • 34 comments concerning street tree maintenance including tree watering, street signs, streetlight trimming, and clearance trimming.

  • 26 comments favored planting fruit trees in the right-of-way.

  • 1 opposed to the same.

Education, Outreach, Collaboration

  • 7 submissions requested information on volunteer activities, indicating volunteer interest in the general community and opportunity for increased exposure.

  • 6 support Grit City Trees.

  • 5 noted specifically that local nurseries don’t take Grit Coupons.

Urban Forest Equity & Accessibility

  • 4 senior and disability related comments.

  • 15 references supported to gleaning – or the collecting and harvesting of edible fruits provided by trees which normally would go to waste, often for contribution to a local food bank. Supporters included representatives from the Pierce County Gleaners Association and Tacoma Gleaners Guild.

Municipal Code & Policy – Preserve Existing Trees

  • 21 comments supported methods to increase tree protection for existing trees, and noted the special benefits large, existing trees provided in comparison to newly planted trees.

  • 13 enforcement related comments, including tree replacement, development protection, and general tree protection.

Climate Adaption

  • 12 references to climate change (increased planting to mitigate climate change)

  • 10 references to climate issues, including drought, effects of climate change on trees, and the carbon sequestration potential of city trees.


  • 7 supporting taking viewsheds into consideration with tree planning.

  • 4 comments supporting and calling out the benefits of urban trees.

Alignment of Survey #1 Comments with themes of One Tacoma, comprehensive plaN


Community Survey #2

375 Responses

Congratulations to the randomly selected winner of the second survey drawing for the $50 gift card!

The winner has chosen the Pacific Grill restaurant.

Thank you all for participating!

30% Canopy Goal (374 responses) Very Supportive

-The City should aggressively work toward meeting the 30% tree canopy cover goal: 91%

-The City should encourage property owners to plant & care for private property trees: 89%

Tree and Sidewalk Conflicts (367 responses) Very Supportive

-The City should encourage wider tree planting strips during review of new development proposals: 82%

-The City should allocate resources for qualified people to provide an unbiased, logical, and consistent assessment: 76%

Heritage Tree Program (362 responses)

-I support reasonable and appropriate tree protection of heritage street trees: 94%

-I support voluntary designation of private property heritage trees (people can nominate their own trees for protection): 72%

Street Tree Maintenance Responsibility (358 responses)

-I support a City program for the proper care of all street trees: 64%

-I support the allocation of City resources for more tree maintenance responsibility: 63%

-I support the City establishing priority corridors where the City is responsible: 62%

Tacoma Residency (357 responses)

-Live in Tacoma: 90%

-District 1 (NW): 41%

Detailed Results of Community Survey #2

Question #1: Based on a 2018 assessment, about 20% of the City’s land is covered with tree canopy—the lowest in the Puget Sound region compared to other cities. In 2010, the City Council adopted a new chapter in Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan - the Urban Forestry Policy Element (UFP). This chapter houses the vision for Tacoma to enhance urban forest resources, including increasing the tree canopy cover from approximately 19% in 2009 to 30% in 2030. By increasing the urban tree canopy, the City will more broadly and equitably distribute the benefits that trees provide (reduced surface temperatures, reduced energy use, reduced stormwater runoff, improved air quality, increased property values, increased wildlife habitat, and restorative effects of human wellbeing). If we were to achieve this, more trees would need to be planted while protecting the ones we have. Please indicate your level of support for the following:

Question #2: In some cases, trees have outgrown the available space, resulting in hardscape damage, such as sidewalk lifting or cracking. Please indicate your level of support for the following:

Question #3: Certain trees across the city are unique in size, species, and/or age and may have significant cultural and/or historical importance, adding to Tacoma’s character and heritage. Some cities establish a “heritage tree program” which protects these unique trees. Once protected by a heritage tree program, these trees shouldn’t be removed unless an assessment determines their condition poses a potential safety issue. Please review the following and select any and/or all that apply:

Question #4: In general, the City of Tacoma does not maintain street trees that are not abutting City-owned property (this includes pruning and removal); exceptions may occasionally be made due to easement stipulations, construction, abatement, and other specific reasons. Please review the following and select any and/or all that apply:

Question #5: Please share any other comments and suggestions for the City of Tacoma regarding tree planting and/or maintenance in urban areas? (185 comments, 190 skipped)

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