This section of the web site outlines important timelines in the Waldo Hospital story and will be updated regularly with more timeline information.

1924 - Construction on Waldo Sanatorium completed.

1937 - Converted to a non-profit facility and renamed Waldo General Hospital. This begins a 71-year history of the use of the site as a public amenity after Dr. Waldo declares the site his gift to people of Seattle.

1959 - North wing added to the facility, increasing the size to about 29,000 square feet

1969 - Waldo Hospital purchased by the non-profit Camp Fire USA of Central Puget Sound, continuing a 30-year history of the site's use as a public amenity.

2003 - Camp Fire examines renovating or demolishing the building.

- Some time in the first half of 2006, Camp Fire decided to sell the property and retained Cushman/Wakefield to handle the sale. No outreach was made to the community about the sale and no notice was given. Camp Fire never contacted the Maple Leaf Community Council about the impending sale.

May/June 2006 - Camp Fire was contacted to find out if they wished to again feature their face painting booth at the annual Maple Leaf Community Summer Social. No mention was made of plans to sell the property.

July 3, 2006 - The Puget Sound Business Journal publishes a short article saying the site was up for sale. This represents the first inkling in the community that the status of Waldo Hospital might transition from the public amenity it had been since 1937. The first time the Maple Leaf Community Council learned about the potential for sale of the site was when a community member, not affiliated with Camp Fire, forwarded the article link to the Council.

July 26, 2006 - The Maple Leaf Community Council contacts Cushman/Wakefield (the listed real estate agent for the property) to set a time on July 26 to walk through the building with Seattle City Council Members Peter Steinbrueck and David Della. This meeting was cancelled when the two Councilmembers had to attend an important civic rally elsewhere.

August 2, 2006 - Elected representatives of the Maple Leaf Community Council meet with the Executive Director of Camp Fire to explore options to keep Camp Fire in the Maple Leaf neighborhood. Suggested alternatives included offers to help raise funds for renovation of the site, asking for time to come up with funds to purchase the site, as well as a number of suggested alternative financial options. Each alternative was rejected, with the executive saying her only goal was to sell to the highest bidder.

August 2006 - Maple Leaf Community Council retains an expert in historical preservation to advise a group of Maple Leaf resident volunteers on nominating Waldo Hospital as a historic site.

late 2006 - Prescott Homes signs an option to purchase the Camp Fire property. Prescott plans to transfer this established public amenity into private residences. No notice of this event was given to the community.

December 2006 - A group of citizens concerned about the unique urban forest located on the site contacted Camp Fire asking for a meeting. This request was denied and they were referred to the real estate salesperson. The salesperson never returned their calls.

January 2007 - At the quarterly Maple Leaf Community Meeting, over 100 community members attended to learn about the threat to the Waldo Hospital site. Also speaking at the meeting were Seattle City Councilmembers Richard Conlin and Peter Steinbrueck, two arborists from the city of Seattle, and the head of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development.

February 6, 2007 - The Maple Leaf Community Council asked to meet with members of the Camp Fire Board of Directors. After having to cancel one meeting due to short advance notice, the meeting was rescheduled for March 7, 2007.

February 14, 2007 - KING-5 television runs a story on the sale and redevelopment of the Waldo Hospital site. KING-5 TV environmental reporter Gary Chittim noted the sale of the "historic" Waldo Hospital could also mean the end of another urban forest. A summary of the story can be found here.

February 27, 2007 - Community members concerned about the trees met with Camp Fire's Executive Director, who brought along their attorney and outside PR person. The same group also met briefly today with Prescott Homes' PR person.

March 2, 2007 - Representatives of the Maple Leaf Community Council had an introductory meeting with the public relations person for Prescott Homes. The public relations person was told that the community's preference is for keeping the site as is, but that any development would need to match the character and density of the surrounding neighborhood. Traffic and parking were identified as important issues.

March 7, 2007 - Representatives of the Maple Leaf Community Council asked Camp Fire for help in keeping Camp Fire in the neighborhood. Specifically, they asked for some simple facts to perfect an alternative financial plan that would match or exceed the long-term financial benefits Camp Fire expects from a sale. This request was refused by Camp Fire.

March 8, 2007
- When a building over 25 years old is affected by a proposed development, Seattle Building Code requires a landmark nomination hearing. The Maple Leaf Community Council today submitted information concerning the historic significance of the Waldo Hospital site and in support of preservation.

March 12, 2007 - Prescott Developments reveals plans to demolish Waldo Hospital and replace this 70-year-old public amenity with 40 private townhomes. The current development plan breaks up the urban forest on the Waldo site, harming its integrity. No traffic mitigation is included. There are 48 parking spaces for 40 homes (Seattle neighborhoods average 2 cars per home) and three visitor spaces. There will be no street parking available on the north side of 85th and the south side of 86th, so any parking overflow will go to 14th, 15th, and on 85th/86th across 15th NE. 32 of the spaces are in an underground garage with an entry on 86th and an exit on 85th. Prescott did not rule out working with the neighborhood, but said they were on a tight schedule.

March 19, 2007 - Camp Fire confirms that Prescott Homes has exercised their option to purchase the Waldo Hospital site. Prescott Homes can still back out of the deal, but now must pay a penalty to Camp Fire if they do so.

March 21, 2007 - Among other decisions pertinent to the Waldo Hospital situation, the Maple Leaf Community Council invites the developers to present development plans and answer questions at their community council meeting on April 25. The developer accepted the invitation.

Late March 2007 - Prescott Homes files for design review of their proposed development plans. It has been designated as project # 3006480

April, 2007 - The Sierra Club writes Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle City Council urging them to save Waldo Forest.

April, 2007 - Seattle Audubon Society adds their endorsement to save Waldo Hospital.

April 15, 2007 - King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick rules that it is a violation of Seattle and Washington State law to not approve the cutting of a few trees in a stand without considering the impact on the whole stand. The developers plan to cut several of the 75+ trees on the historic Waldo Hospital site to make way for their townhomes.

April 25, 2007 - Maple Leaf Community Council meets. Prescott Development presents their proposed designs and takes questions. City Planner Scott Kemp talks about the process going forward. County Councilman Bob Ferguson offers to help both as a Councilman and as a resident of Maple Leaf. KOMO TV provides coverage of the meeting on their 11pm broadcast.

May 2, 2007 - Members of the Maple Leaf Community make an outstanding presentation to Seattle's Landmark Preservation Board and win a unanimous vote to nominate Waldo Hospital (building and the site) as a Historic Landmark. Prescott Development's arguments that the site was unremarkable and that Dr. Waldo was not a significant individual failed. Still to come on June 20 is the second step of the process, conversion from a nomination to a designation -- which is a necessary step to protect the heritage of Waldo Hospital and Dr. William Waldo's importance to our community, our city, our state, and our nation.

May 21, 2007 - Seattle DPD holds a design review meeting attended by Prescott Development and Maple Leaf Community members. While a Landmark Designation could render this meeting moot, it provided the first opportunity in the official permitting process for Maple Leaf residents and others to be heard concerning the development of the site.

May 22, 2007 - Washington Historic Trust announces Waldo Hospital has been placed on their Most Endangered Historic Sites list. At a press conference and rally, Waldo Hospital was highlighted and a brief portion of the story of the hospital and Dr. William Waldo was told to the assembled crowd and news media.

June 2007 - Camp Fire launches a false, defamatory, and deceptive media campaign accusing the Maple Leaf neighborhood of using the landmark process as merely a tool to stop development. They fail to mention to the media or their supporters that our community reached out to them twice with offers to raise money to help them stay in our neighborhood, find a developer who would preserve the significant aspects of the site, and work with them and local government officials to come to a reasonable solution. Each time these requests were rejected.

June 2007 - After a public DPD Initial Design Review meeting, the developer was told to incorporate nearly all our community's requests into their next design proposal.

June 20, 2007 - A remodeled Seattle Landmarks Board went against the Staff recommendation and did not designate Waldo Hospital as a historical site. Our neighborhood volunteers very nearly won, despite extensive political maneuvering by the opposition and their spending of over $65,000 to hire "expert" witnesses whose idea of historical research into events in the 1920s was electronic citation searches and Google inquiries. It is remarkable how a hot housing market brings out greed and avarice in the unlikeliest place.

July 2007 - At a meeting with the Mayor's staff, Prescott Development says they were told they did not have to save Waldo Forest and that it was OK if they put houses among the intact urban forest on the site. (At a September 13, 2007 meeting with community members, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis denied telling Prescott this.)

August 6, 2007 - The developer did not adequately respond to the Design Review Board's concerns about the proposed housing development on the Waldo Hospital site. With the support of dozens of concerned Maple Leaf community members, they told Prescott to come back with a better design.

September 10, 2007 - At the third Design Review Board (DRB) meeting, Prescott's legal representative did most of the talking and made it clear to the board Prescott believes they do not need to participate in this process. The DRB listened closely to community presentations and told Prescott their current plans were not complete enough to make a decision. The DRB did not require Prescott to come back for a fourth time, but the DRB also did not provide any endorsement of Prescott's plans nor did they give Prescott permission for building code departures.

September 13, 2007 - Members of the Maple Leaf Community Council met with Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, DPD head Diane Sugimura, and Mayor staff member Nathan Torgelson. Deputy Mayor Ceis agreed to provide names and contact information for city experts to answer community questions. He also agreed to call Prescott and inform them they need to do a better job protecting Waldo Forest and addressing community concerns. Ms. Sugimura promised help in determining the zoning history of the parcel. (None of the contact information promised has been forwarded nor has Ms. Sugimura responded. However, City Councilperson Conlin's office subsequently helped facilitate research into the zoning history.)

December 26, 2007 - Prescott Developments filed for a Master Use Permit (MUP) for 39 townhomes. A significant portion of the trees in Waldo Forest will be removed and most of the rest adversely affected by the coming construction. The comment period for comments on the entire project will remain open for 28 days.

January 14, 2008 - The Maple Leaf Community Council challenges the completeness of the permit application filed by developer. A few days later, Seattle DPD agrees and tells the developer they must re-file the permits.

January 22, 2008 - Members of the Maple Leaf Community Council committee working on this issue meet with the developer to get an update on the building plans.

January 23-24, 2008 - The developer submits additional documents in order to complete their permit filing. These include traffic assessments, a full geological report, and environmental report, and some of the other documents missing from the original filing. DPD does not change the original filing date of the permit even though most of the important documents were missing or incomplete when filed.

January 30, 2008 - At the regular January meeting of the Maple Leaf Community, neighbors are updated as to the current status of the project.

February 1, 2008 - DPD asks the developer for more traffic and pedestrian data, as well as to fill out a climate change worksheet on the project.

February 4, 2008 - Official notice arrives of a community meeting on the permit application to be held just one week away. Waldo volunteers discover there is no provision within the Municipal Code governing advance notice of these critical meetings.

February 5, 2008 - After a check of the DPD file, it is discovered the file is still not complete. The MLCC asks that the filing date be adjusted according to whenever the developer finally submits all the paperwork they were supposed to submit with the original application. MLCC also asks that the February 11 meeting be rescheduled to provide for more advanced notice. The requests were denied.

February 6, 2008 - It is discovered the environmental report filed by the developer on January 23 is missing every other page. When a replacement arrives, it is accompanied by previously unknown documents concerning radon levels and lead levels dated March 2007. It is now some seven weeks after DPD mistakenly considered the application complete.

February 11, 2008 - A public meeting on the project was held. It was standing room only with over 75 people in the room. The comments reflected how well informed the residents of Maple Leaf are. Among the outcomes of the meeting was a promise from the developer and the city to hold a subsequent meeting just on traffic and pedestrian issues (March 10, 7pm, Olympic View Elementary). The city will also require more toxin testing on the site. Those who were at the meeting got a taste of how biased the city is in favor of this development.

February 18, 2008 - When an independent arborist surveyed the trees at the Waldo Site, it was discovered the planned tree loss is much worse than was advertised in the developer's documents. The developer characterized their tree retention plans as saving "more than half" or "about half" depending on the document. Instead, only 36 of 108 trees and prominent shrubs (33%) are being retained. A table filed by the developer incorrectly indicated 58 trees and prominent shrubs would be retained.

February 27, 2008 - The deadline for the comment period on the project was met by dozens of letters urging the city to reconsider the current plan for development at this site and to require a full Environmental Impact Statement. The Maple Leaf Community Council weighed in with their formal comments, which exceed 40 pages.

March 3, 2008 - The City's independent Design Review Board discussed the project. The developer was told to go away and come back with better designs based on the fact they did not meet the design guidance specified at the meetings in August 2007.

March 10, 2008 - A traffic and pedestrian meeting was held with the developer, representatives from the City, members of the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive board, and members of the community. The meeting was highly productive. The outcome of the traffic meeting can be found on the MLCC's web site here.

March 2008 - The University of Washington Berman Environmental Law Clinic agrees to take the Maple Leaf Community Council as a client.

April 7, 2008
- A second Design Review Board meeting was held. The designs submitted by the developer after the March 3rd meeting did not fully respond to what the Board requested at the March 10 meeting. The City's head of design review, Vince Lyons, declared this would be the last design review meeting before the developer made their presentation or the community provided comment. This was a flagrant abuse of what is supposed to be an independent process. Despite very little progress since the April 7 meeting and the proposed development and site plan still not meeting the design guidance established last August, the Design Review Board did as instructed and passed the project out of design review.

April 9, 2008 - An second environmental analysis, done only because the community insisted the initial analysis was incorrect, revealed extensive lead, more asbestos, and unspecified 'heavy metals' were present in the buildings planned to be demolished on the site. Despite the fact this site is less than 50 yards from a major source of drinking water (Maple Leaf Reservoir), the City never would have required this testing without the community's insistence. The author of the analysis, chosen and paid for by the developer, stated that additional asbestos analysis must be conducted and that no permits should be issued without a detailed demolition plan filed with the City. As noted in the Maple Leaf Community Council's extensive comments on the SEPA document, lead dust travels surprising distances at harmful concentrations even when "water sprinkling" dust mitigation measures are used. Any demolition of the buildings on the site should be done by hand within an enclosed structure to ensure public safety.

May 1, 2008 - A Guest Editorial by the Maple Leaf Community Council appeared in The Seattle Times. The editorial points out that for all the Mayor's Agendas, Initiatives, and Plans, we still cannot seem to save big blocks of trees from coming down. The editorial challenges the Mayor to demonstrate leadership on this issue, with Waldo Woods serving as the test case.

May 1, 2008 - DPD, contrary to any reasonable interpretation of the facts presented over the last 22 months, issued a Determination of Non Significance for the proposed development project. Suggested mitigations were incomplete and insufficient to mitigate the significant environment harm caused by the development plans. The Maple Leaf Community Council has stated publicly they plan to appeal the decision. The appeal will be filed by the May 15, 2008 deadline.

May 9, 2008
- In an ironic turn of events, the Puget Sound Business Journal runs a story on the EIS decision by DPD. Why ironic? We all learned about the potential sale of Waldo Hospital from a story appearing in PSBJ's July 3, 2006 edition.

May 15, 2008 - The Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board files an appeal of DPD's Determination of Non-Significance for the proposed project. The appeal is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it took 8 full pages just to outline the mistakes of fact and omissions of key details from the DNS. These nearly 60 items are not disagreements about interpretation or differences in opinion, they are simply errors made by DPD because they rushed the document to meet the developer's timelines instead of taking the time necessary to do their jobs. The remainder of the 35+ page appeal document outlines the arguments that will be made during the hearing for why the Hearing Examiner should overturn the DNS decision and issue a determination of significance leading to a full EIS. Click here to see a copy.

June 30, 2008 - The Seattle City Council unanimously passes Resolution 31065, sponsored by Council President Richard Conlin and Councilmember Sally Clark, that declares DPD is incorrectly interpreting city code by focusing only on individual trees as worthy of protection.

August 4,5,6, and 8, 2008 - The Maple Leaf Community Council presented their case in front of the Seattle Hearing Examiner with the help of Attorney Kathy George. During the hearing, the community proved Prescott mislead the city by falsely claiming a 350' canopy increase on the site after development, when the real number was a 1600+ foot canopy reduction. Under oath, city representatives admitted the city had no idea how to protect its citizens from toxic lead dust fall, but they were convinced the developer could figure it out for them on this project. The city also broke its own laws by not including required information in their written decision.

September 2, 2008
- Despite acknowledging the developer mislead the city, and that the city broke its own laws, the Hearing Examiner found in favor of the developer and the city.

September 4, 2008 - The Maple Leaf Community Council appeals directly to Mayor Nickels for "clemency" for Waldo Woods, asking him to withdraw the faulty decision.

September 9, 2008 - Mayor Nickels responds, saying he believes the developer is doing a good job and that the only avenue left to the community is to sue the city in King County Superior Court.

September 18, 2008 - A rally is organized by concerned city residents to highlight the impending loss of Waldo Woods and protest the fact the city is encouraging a developer to experiment on children in the neighborhood with an unproven, unresearched, and untested toxic lead dust abatement process.

September 22, 2008 - The Maple Leaf Community Council to takes Mayor Nickels up on his offer to sue the city. Attorney Dave Mann files the paperwork outlining how the city failed to follow its own environmental regulations.

May 29, 2009 - The Maple Leaf Community Council wins its appeal! Judge Timothy Bradshaw finds, in part, "Pursuant to RCW 36.70C.140, the Court REMANDS with direction to the Hearing Examiner to fully consider the additional condition of a "circus tent" enclosure(2) in any final plan." (2) As argued by the petitioner, the circus tent would provide "certain protection from significant environmental harm" to the community. Sr. Land Planner Kemp acknowledged this point in testifying about a circus tent condition. (pp. 40-41). Full mitigation is appropriate given the proximity of the site to the Maple Leaf Reservoir."

Early Summer 2009 - Prescott Development terminates their purchase agreement. The Waldo Working Group of the Maple Leaf Community Council contacts Camp Fire to offer to meet and work together to find an alternative buyer. The answer, "We'll get back to you."

June 2009 - The Waldo Working Group contacts several of the groups who previously expressed interest in acquiring the property and saving the building and trees. They learn offers were made in 2006 by other non-profits interested in preserving the building and the trees. At least one offer was in the $5 million range.

July 21, 2009 - The Menachem Mendel Seattle Cheder Jewish Day School announces they have acquired Waldo Hospital. They plan to remodel Waldo Hospital and indicate they are willing to work to save Waldo Woods.

Winter 2009 - Seattle Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher agrees to have Parks be the grantor for a Conservation Easement that will preserve Waldo Woods forever.

March 8, 2010 - The Seattle City Council passes Ordinance 123248, creating the Waldo Woods Conservation Easement.

March 2010 - The Waldo Woods Working Group subcommittee of the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board disbands after accomplishing the impossible -- saving Waldo Woods and Waldo Hospital. In addition to this amazing accomplishment, the group brought enough visibility to urban forest issues to generate changes in DPD regulations protecting tree groves and see the passage of legislation creating the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission charged with creating better tree preservation rules and fostering better coordination between departments.

Thus ends the Waldo Hospital story.

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