Help protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest

Please demonstrate your support of the plan to protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest by having SPS sell the development rights of the property to the KCPD so the property can never be developed for any other use by SPS or any future owner.

For years, CHS alumni have been concerned about the CHS Memorial Forest being sold or developed for some use other than being a memorial.  The best way to protect the forest is to sell the development rights of the property to the King County Parks Department.  This would result in a conservation easement being placed on the property to prevent development by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) or any future buyer of the property.  King County (KC) Parks is very much interested in purchasing the development rights as part of their conservation program.  The school district and park department are working on an agreement to make this happen, but the idea still needs to be approved by the Seattle School Board.  This is where you may be able to help.

Please sign download, print, and mail your letter of support to:

CHS Alumni Association
c/o J R Barton, Vice President
21006 SE 268th Ct.
Covington, WA 98042

View/Print/Download the following documents:

Recent News Timeline

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Cleveland High School Memorial Forest

Cleveland High School is the only high school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who died while serving in the armed forces during World War II. 

Recent Press/News

This video is based on the book HONORED DEAD by Patricia Sullivan Rosenkranz CHS Class of ’49

How it began

At the height of World War II, the students of Cleveland High School (CHS) in Seattle, Washington sought a way to memorialize classmates who had died in service to our country. To that end, they collected over $300, including gifts from the graduation classes of 1943 and 1944, to purchase land for a memorial forest. 

Vice Principal Ray Imus

At a county tax auction in July 1944, Vice Principal Ray Imus bid on a quarter section of logged-off land east of Issaquah on the Issaquah – Fall City Road. When other bidders learned that the students hoped to create a memorial forest to commemorate their fallen classmates, no one bid against Imus and the clear-cut land was acquired for $300. The deed was issued to Principal Kenneth Selby. When Selby retired in December of 1944 it was determined that the high school couldn’t own property so ownership of the memorial forest was transferred to the Seattle School District as:

“A Perpetual Memorial to the Cleveland students who lost their lives in the war.”

The memorial forest consists of 131 acres of second grown timber, including Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar – the result of CHS students planting over 10,000 trees. 

Inviting trails cut through the lush vegetation and a salmon spawning stream finds protection there. This beautiful memorial to fallen classmates serves as a striking contrast to the horrific war that inspired its origin.

New! We’ve added a page to list all of the Honored Dead, from World War II, Korea and Vietnam

Photo Gallery

Timeline

1943

Funds collected.

Funds collected by the CHS students for war effort.

1944

Property purchased.

Property purchased at county tax auction by Vice Principal Imus. (Jul)
Principal Selby retires, deeds property to Seattle Public Schools. (Dec)
Seattle Public Schools accepts property "as a perpetual memorial to the Cleveland boys who have lost their lives in the war" (School Board Minutes dated May 12, 1944 and June 2, 1944.)

1940s-1950s

10,000 trees planted.

CHS Forestry Club planted 10,000 fir and cedar trees, cleared trails and installed fences.

1950s

Survey performed.

Survey of the property by alumni to identify property lines.

1967

Project Interchange

Project Interchange Program (federal funding): Designed to help potential dropouts and disadvantaged young men.

  • Built an A-frame (designed by CHS architectural drawing students).
  • Built a storage shed and drilled a well.
  • Built the original lyceum.
  • Converted an old portable to restrooms.
  • Developed a septic system.

19xx

WW II plaque made.

World War II plaque made in the CHS metal shop and installed on the "Rock".

197x

The Rock.

Korean and Vietnam War plaque installed on the "Rock".

1970s-1980s

Use of the Forest

Tony Nogales, Seattle Public Schools field trip coordinator, encourages teachers' use of the Forest as an educational resource.

1994

Character of the Memorial questioned.

A newspaper article quoted school officials who suggested installing a challenge course at the Forest to produce revenue through rental to outside groups. This caused alarm among alumni that the character of the memorial could change, or that Seattle Public Schools would sell the Forest.

199x

Lyceum destroyed by arson.

The lyceum was destroyed by arson.

$250,000 levy passed by Seattle voters to improve the Forest and other facilities. Nothing was spent on the Forest. CHSAA donates $1000 to encourage increased use of Forest by CHS. Teachers Bianca Linder and Karen Haggard camp there for three days with students as part of a summer program of plant identification, forest studies, and survival skills.

1995

CHS Alumni sue Seattle Public Schools for ownership.

Responding to a request by School Board members Linda Harris and Ellen Roe, City Council members Sue Donaldson and Larry Phillips procured $15,000 in federal, county, and city grants to restore basic facilities and to develop a Forest curriculum.

Environmental studies instructor, Tom Hudson, at Garfield High School started taking his classes to the Forest as part of a survival course. This evolved into the Post Program which typically involved 1/4 of student body for 20 years (about 10,000 students).

CHS Alumni sues Seattle Public Schools for ownership of the property (May) -- see 2000 for conclusion.

1997

Students take field trips to the Forest.

Tom Hudson conducted teacher workshops in forest ecology, thereby increasing the number of field trips for elementary and middle school classes.

2000

Seattle Public Schools wins lawsuit.

2001

Annual memorial ceremonies started.

CHSAA started yearly ceremonies to honor fallen heroes (May)

2002

Seattle Public Schools wins lawsuit

Court of Appeals, State of Washington: Seattle Public Schools wins lawsuit.

  • Property accepted by Seattle Public Schools "as a perpetual memorial to the Cleveland boys who lost their lives in the war."

2012

New lyceum design.

New lyceum design is developed. (Dec)

2014

Memorial plaques stolen.

Post Program at Garfield High School ends and their use of the Forest--curriculum change.

Memorial plaques are stolen from the "Rock".

2015

New monument. Forest plans.

King County Forester, Kristi McClelland, states that Forest has major problems:

  • Alder trees and salmonberry bushes will dominate if forest is not managed
  • Forest Management Plans are self-funding through selective harvesting

Seattle Public Schools rejects CHSAA offer to develop a Forest Management Plan

Completed design of granite monument to honor alumni war deaths (Jul)

Seattle Public Schools approves new lyceym design -- but no fire pit.

2017

New monument & rededication

May 24th: New granite monument installed to honor fallen CHS alumni

May 26th: CHS Memorial Forest rededicated

2018

Friends of the Forest meets.

September 17th: First meeting of the Friends of the Forest group.

2019

Discussion of selling dev rights.

Spring: Seattle Public Schools and King County agree to meet to discuss selling of development rights. Read more

2020

Letter Drive

A letter drive began to solicit letters of support from alumni, individuals and patriotic organizations to back our plan to have Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD)