SEATTLE — On March 10, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that the City’s Office of the Waterfront will plant 24 new cherry blossom trees to replace the eight declining cherry blossoms planted outside Pike Place Market in the 1980s, along with a memorial plaque highlighting the cultural significance of the trees at Pike Place Market.
Eight of the trees will be planted along Pike Street, between 1st and 2nd avenues approaching the market to replace the previous trees, which are in decline after outliving their typical lifespan.
The City will also plant 16 additional cherry blossom trees in a location to be determined, with possibilities for some of them to be planted along the over 20 acres of parkland being developed as part of the transformation of the waterfront.
The Northwest Asian Weekly first reported earlier this month that the flowering cherry trees leading to the Pike Place Market will fall prey to Seattle’s monster project to connect downtown and the waterfront.
“We are glad to hear that the City of Seattle will replace the cherry blossom trees near Pike Place Market, and even add additional trees in locations around Seattle,” said Consul General of Japan Hisao Inagaki. “We hope that these trees will continue to serve as an enduring symbol of the strong ties of friendship between Japan and the City of Seattle for many years to come.”
“Cherry blossom trees are more than a symbol—they invoke heartfelt feelings and represent decades of history—both the good and the bad—as part of our City’s deep connection to Japan. My own understanding of this is rooted in the experiences of my Japanese American family, who were incarcerated at an internment camp at Minidoka, and their reverence for these trees and their magnificent bloom,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.
Harrell added, “In listening to advocates of preserving existing trees, we weighed the trees’ declining health against a compelling vision of a new and safe corridor for the next 40 years and agreed on the importance of capturing their historical significance. The Pike Pine Streetscape Improvement project is a cornerstone in our efforts to rebuild downtown, and this commitment will ensure cherry blossom trees reach new generations of Seattleites for years to come.”
“We are so pleased Mayor Bruce Harrell and the City of Seattle are honoring the strong bond between Seattle, Japan, and Japanese American communities with this commitment to plant twenty-four cherry blossom trees,” said Karen Yoshitomi, Executive Director, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. “Together, we will continue to commemorate and uplift our shared values and cultural history for decades to come.”