Legion Way is a beloved canopied streetscape that was planted on Armistice Day in 1928 as a living memorial to honor local veterans. Today’s canopy is composed of Red oaks, Pin oaks, and Sweetgums, some of which tower 90 feet above the street. The canopy provides a shady corridor, wildlife habit, and an incredible array of environmental benefits.

Unfortunately, over 30 years ago, all 123 trees on Legion Way were topped for overhead utility lines. Once an accepted pruning practice, topping is now known to be very damaging to a tree’s structure and long-term viability. Legion Way trees are on the decline due to unnaturally shaped and weakened branches and trunks. As the trees grow, so do the incidents of branch and whole tree failures.

Unhealthy Legion Way tree Healthy tree on Marine Drive

To address the safety and future of the trees, the City’s Urban Forestry Program is beginning the planning and implementation of a Stewardship Plan for Legion Way with a phased, multi- faceted approach that incorporates monitoring, pruning and replacement. Partnerships with a variety of community organizations are being pursued as part of this effort, with a goal of providing opportunities for members of the community to learn about, participate in, and contribute to the stewardship of this special and historic streetscape.

For more information about Legion Way, please contact the City of Olympia Urban Forester.