2023 Memorial Ceremony at the Forest

Donovan Jackson & Allison Sevilla folding of the Flag

by John R. Barton ’54

Did you know that Cleveland High School of Seattle is the only school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who sacrificed their lives while serving in the armed forces of United States military?

This forest property was purchased in 1944 for $300 that was collected over two years by the students of this low-income district. The vice principal, Mr. Imus, took the money to a public tax auction of logged-off land. When word got around that the students wanted to use the land to honor their fallen classmates, no one bid against Mr. Imus and he purchased 131+ acres — it was a field of stumps. Weyerhaeuser Corporation donated 10,000 seedlings for the CHS Forestry Club to plant. It was determined early on that the high school couldn’t own property so the property was donated to Seattle Public Schools as . . .

“A perpetual memorial to the Cleveland boys who lost their lives in the war.”

Today, we have a beautiful forest comprised of Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar trees worth more than $3 million.

Being concerned about the longevity of the property, in 2021 the CHS Alumni Association convinced SPS to sell the development rights of the property to the King County Parks Department. By selling the development rights, the property can never be sold and developed for any other use. This was a win-win-win situation. The school district retained ownership of the property and received over $3 million for the development rights. King County Parks was able to add the acreage to their forest conservation program, and members of the CHS Alumni Association have been able to sleep better at night knowing that the CHS Memorial Forest is safe from ever being developed for some other use.

Some photos from our day at the Forest. May 26, 2023

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