West Seattle property owner claims tree poisoning, hangs banner

December 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 69 Comments

Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Kaly Cook says someone poisoned trees on her Harbor Avenue property five years ago, at which time she called the state for advice, but was unsure what else to do. Now, saying that more trees have been poisoned, Cook has taken her complaint to the public in a very visible way.

You might have seen the banner she hung this fall on the slope over her home near Seacrest, reading “Trees Poisoned For View”; WSB has received a few notes asking “what’s the story?”

The answer, from Cook: She says the stand of red alder has been cut into with chainsaws and that in all, 17 have been dosed with poison.

These trees are at the top of a steep slope that Kaly Cook has owned as part of her property since the 1960s.

She says she has previously allowed other property owners to “top” the trees — removing the uppermost trunks and branches. “Topping,” however, is a damaging practice for trees, and experts say it ultimately results in a tree’s failure.

As Cook learned more about arboriculture and the importance of healthy trees to maintaining the structural integrity of her slope, she says she asked the property owners to hire an arborist to properly prune the trees rather than giving further permission to top them. She says: “Nothing happened for a while, but then I discovered trees were being both poisoned and cut down.”

She says she has since hired three different arborists to determine whether anything can be done to repair the damage. In the meantime, the trees that she says were poisoned five years ago are beginning to break and fall, endangering the people and animals that live below them.

Three goats also inhabit this hillside; as you can see from the next photo, a large trunk from the one of the poisoned trees narrowly missed crushing the goats’ house during a windstorm.

The arborists Cook hired determined that nothing can be done to save the trees, and if the city deems them to be hazardous, Cook will have to pay to take them down.

Nolan Rundquist, a City of Seattle arborist, calls this “really unfair.” He adds, “Trees are a part of the view. Unless you own everything between you and the view, you have no business thinking it’s your view.”

Asked about the role of trees in stabilizing slopes, especially a slope such as this one with natural springs running through it, the senior urban forester for Seattle Parks and Recreation, Mark Mead, says there are “multi-layered issues” with tree cover: “The roots pull water out of the soil (to keep it from getting saturated) and act as ‘glue’ — growing into a mesh that keeps sandy soil on the slope. The tree canopy intercepts water so it doesn’t reach the slope and it allows native vegetation to grow under the trees, absorbing more water, while shading it from invasive species. When you lose canopy, you get invasive species (such as blackberry or ivy) that are not as deeply rooted and less beneficial for soil retention.”

Arborist Rundquist says that without living trees on the slope, “I wouldn’t want to live at the top OR bottom of the hill. It’s scary stuff.”

There are ordinances against damaging trees, and the penalties are stiff fines. Private concerns that have been found guilty of damaging trees on public property have typically settled out of court. A case of illegal tree-damaging drew attention on city-owned Harbor Avenue land back in 2008, but records don’t show if it resulted in anything more than that.

Cook describes the hillside over her house as being home to “birds, raccoons, red fox and coyotes. We even had river otters come and splash around in the yard.” She adds, “I wish there were a resource for people who have trees and the people who want views. We need an intermediary.”

For urban forester Mead, it’s not a matter of losing a few trees. Seattle parks have lost two percent of their trees in just the past six years.* Because of the ecosystem services provided by trees, such as removal of pollutants from the atmosphere and oxygen creation, as well as the natural habitat and stabilizing reasons stated previously, Seattle is looking to increase its tree canopy to 30 percent, from the current 22 percent.

For this reason, Mead says emphatically that, “The loss of any tree in the city is a big deal.”

Meantime, since her contention is something that is difficult to prove short of actually catching someone in the act, Cook has hung her banner, and is hoping it makes her point.
======
*This sentence corrected 12/30/10 – what was originally published suggested the entire city had lost two percent; instead, it’s the city’s parks.

69 Comments

  1. Sad situation. This year could be the year the house above slides off it’s foundation too with the ground being so saturated.

    Comment by Mike — 11:40 pm December 26, 2010 #

  2. Seems like a little detective work would reduce the possibilities to just a few possibilities.

    Comment by Bert — 5:18 am December 27, 2010 #

  3. Poisoned for view could be right. I have seen a number of post on comments on other forums who claim to at least desire to destroy property and trees so they can improve the view from their own dwelling.

    Comment by cj — 5:24 am December 27, 2010 #

  4. This is sad, poisoning/topping etc. is a totally selfish (not to mention illegal in many cases) action for someone to take. Glad that the city is weighing in, Mark Mead and Nolan are very experienced in urban forestry and I would trust their warnings around tree care and loss of canopy. Hope someone gets caught red-handed and fined accordingly – time to call more attention to this dangerous and irresponsible practice from ignorant property owners in Seattle.

    Comment by lina rose — 6:13 am December 27, 2010 #

  5. If the city is worried about losing tree cover, etc., I wonder if they’d work with her to help replace the damaged trees – who better than city foresters/arborists to give free advice. I bet others who enjoy walking/running/driving by the Cooks’ property and searching for the goats would volunteer man power.

    Comment by K — 6:43 am December 27, 2010 #

  6. “Unless you own everything between you and the view, you have no business thinking it’s your view.”

    Gee, what a concept! If more people actually accepted this basic fact of life, there wouldn’t be so much vanadalism, property damage, and harrassment of people doing perfectly legal things… like building a house on property they OWN or maintaining trees they OWN.

    Comment by Meghan — 8:27 am December 27, 2010 #

  7. I feel for you Kaly, there are all types in this world and “whoever” did this or “paid” to have this done will reap payback Karma in some form. They are superficial ego driven citizens. Hang in there.

    Comment by Babs — 8:50 am December 27, 2010 #

  8. She could probably figure out who is the culprit by looking at which houses would benefit from a view behind the trees and letting them know she will seek legal action when she gets enough evidence. Karma will catch up to them for killing trees and endangering her home below the hill. I’m sure one of the culprit’s neighbor’s know something about it and will spill the beans… especially since she was neighborly enough to allow topping of the trees in the past for those that asked.

    Comment by ttt — 8:53 am December 27, 2010 #

  9. A number of years ago on my street, property owners caught another neighbor (a doctor) poisoning their trees for view by pounding copper spikes into them. They made him remove all the spikes or face arrest. This is common practice by people who feel entitled, believing they paid for the view. Trees have been illegally cut or poisoned all over the city by such scum. A few years back a judge was caught, and later fined for clearing trees on city park property.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 9:17 am December 27, 2010 #

  10. I like the part of the story that reminds us that “trees are part of the view.” It’s true! We get so greedy for a glimpse of the water that we miss some of the beautiful sights in front of the water. Sorry for this homeowner and her sick trees and compromised soil.

    Comment by kte — 9:20 am December 27, 2010 #

  11. Trees, the birds they house, the land they restore, the hillsides they hold, the air they cleanse–they are a lovely, hard working part of the view indeed.

    Comment by Cass Nevada — 9:37 am December 27, 2010 #

  12. This is a sad and frustrating story. That someone would have the gall to use a chainsaw (!!) and think that is ok. I wish they got caught. Might be time for a fence but I’m sure its a large area. It just seems basic about the trees holding the hill in place but for the greedy who put their precious views over the land it sits on (which is truly what sustains us)its a no-win.

    Comment by md — 9:43 am December 27, 2010 #

  13. Good for you, tell everyone , yell as loud as you can, I have a similar plan to put up a banner on the corner of my block where 14 mature evergreens have been first topped, then removed by the Westwood View condo complex, All because ONE GUY didnt want to have to clean the pine needles out of his rain gutters.
    the fact that my block was forested was one of the bigest reasons I bought my house. NOW the entire neighborhhod is exposed to increased noise polution and traffic going down the hill to the mall,loss of all privacy , and shade block. A couple yrs ago when it was so hot in the summer several elderly people from that building were sitting in their cars in the alley behind my house because its the only remaining shade on my block. without the blockage from the forested corner their units were just too hot to stay in.
    I have reported them several times with NO response from the city. I printed out a letter and distributed it to EVERY affected property surrounding the corner. I know I cant possibly be the only person who is pissed about the tress being gone, The city’s website gives some great facts about the value of mature urban trees. and the decreased property value by removing them!!!
    Not to mention now the whole corner looks ugly as s#!t.
    Why do these people keep getting away with this yet its practically impossible for the average citizen to get anything done about it after the damage has been done.
    F’n STOP TAKING DOWN TREES.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 9:55 am December 27, 2010 #

  14. Wow. With neighbors like that who needs enemies?

    This tree poisoning neighbor must not need a sense of community if they are vandalizing the property of those people in the best postion to help keep them safe. Sure hope they are immune to weather anomilies that will take their house down the hill, as well as burglaries that their neighbors could have alerted them to.

    Property value involves so much more than just a view.

    Hope they catch this person. And I hope that Kaly has good insurance incase the soil gives out before it happens.

    Comment by ask — 10:14 am December 27, 2010 #

  15. Talk about selfish… Growing some scrub alder trees and blocking others behind you is the real selfish act. If you were so concerned about the bank then many other things could have been planted and taken care of. Kudoes… to the guy who killed them. Email me the recipe for the kill. I am sick of all the people that spoil others view. Those trees were not always there. You need a real professional to tell you about pruning a tree will damage it. Bonsai trees will live hundreds of year after being pruned. Alder trees should be taken out. All you liberals enjoy reading the truth.

    Comment by charles sams — 11:55 am December 27, 2010 #

  16. Wonder how much the property values the homeowner who did this will go down when the hillside below is determined to be unstable, or a lien is placed against the property for damages, removal of the poisoned trees and site remediation.

    This really makes me sick. Fight the good fight, Kaly. Folks here are with you!

    Comment by Mark K — 12:10 pm December 27, 2010 #

  17. Kaly may have hit on the exact solution. Whoever poisoned those trees now have their view impinged by an accusatory banner reminding them daily of their misbehavior. If it were my property I would plant Leyland Cypress(Cupressocyparis leylandii) on the slope. They are evergreen and grow about 3 to 5 feet per year. If the selfish people knew for certain that the punishment would obscure the view even more than the original trees, they would think twice before doing it again.

    Comment by JoAnne King — 12:38 pm December 27, 2010 #

  18. Hey Cook here’s an idea, move to Enumclaw or somewhere with a forrest. Not in a middle of a city with people who want a view. Unless you are going to amp up your security and not just hang a banner then stop complaining or MOVE!

    Comment by Sick of the Complaining — 12:42 pm December 27, 2010 #

  19. I hope you are able to plant new fast growing evergreen trees that can help stabilize the slope, give habitat to local wildlife, aid the ecosystem and block the view 365 days a year.

    If you pant new Red Alders, that is great too. Red Alders are native to Washington, and have more right to be there than your neighbors.

    Comment by Aaron — 12:44 pm December 27, 2010 #

  20. So sad! Eliminating yet another home to wildlife because of someone’s warped idea of the perfect view!

    Comment by Misha — 1:04 pm December 27, 2010 #

  21. what would be totally ironic is if the views you self serving asses think your so frickin entitled to become full of crap you dont want to look at HA!
    Trees serve a purpose beyond just one persons view
    You cant compare butchering private property to BONSAI, Bonsai trees are carefully cultivated for decades, not just randomly hacked at.
    and as for the douche who said MOVE , why dont you move that road goes both ways. Stop acting like you have more rights than the rest of us.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 1:17 pm December 27, 2010 #

  22. The truth is, the number of people who plant irresponsibly far out-weigh the number who now seem to be taking matters into their own hands. And this, is the real shame. The wrong species for the wrong location is choking our sidewalks, leaving our roofs vulnerable, causing tripping hazards, and worse, auto accidents. Let’s remember, we live in a city, not a forest. And, we do have the freedom to re-plant, responsibly. Where’s the harm in re-planting with an appropriate choice which fits within the scope of a landscape setting?

    Comment by s. lanch — 1:20 pm December 27, 2010 #

  23. “Warped idea of the perfect view?” Urban views don’t get much better than those from that part of West Seattle. Anywhere.

    It’s totally wrong (and illegal) to go onto someone else’s property and destroy their trees. But let’s not kid ourselves — this isn’t some old growth forest we’re talking about. The trees on this slope and many others in West Seattle are basically big weeds. They are not native nor particularly enjoyable to look at.

    The “warped idea” is that every tree, no matter how invasive and non-native, is sacred and must be protected no matter what.

    Do the property owners have a “right” to the view? No. But good neighbors work together. You mow your lawn and keep you’re yard looking good not just for yourself, but for your neighbors too. And if you live in an area where your weeds or trees are taking away your neighbors enjoyment of their property, you work together to find a mutually agreeable solution.

    Comment by drshort — 1:33 pm December 27, 2010 #

  24. drshort: in what universe is trespassing on another’s property and aggressively destroying their trees a mutually agreeable solution?
    .
    I realize that’s not what you’re saying, but I really do not understand the reaction that the owner of this property has no right to be pissed off because the trees are trash alder instead of thousand-year-old cedar. Seriously?

    Comment by datamuse — 1:42 pm December 27, 2010 #

  25. I said that was wrong and illegal. I don’t condone it one bit. And the owner has the right to be very pissed.

    The point I was trying to make is that when you live in a city, you need to be considerate of your neighbors. Don’t leave trash in your yard, cut your grass, keep your house up. And in areas with views, you should be considerate of how vegetation on your property impacts those living around you.

    Comment by drshort — 1:56 pm December 27, 2010 #

  26. Actually, Red alder IS a native tree–it’s known as a “pioneer” species because it’s one of the first plants to colonize a disturbed site. The article notes that this slope has been a part of Ms. Cook’s property since the 1960s. Doesn’t say that she planted the trees. The article also states that, even though we live in the city, the City of Seattle is working to INCREASE tree canopy–probably so we can, you know, breathe oxygen.

    Comment by The Velvet Bulldog — 1:56 pm December 27, 2010 #

  27. charles sams: Wow. I’m glad I’m not your neighbor.

    Comment by Samuel Charles — 2:13 pm December 27, 2010 #

  28. “charles sams” makes the odd points that allowing trees to grow on one’s property is selfish, gives kudos to the tree killer and then touts himself as a conservative.

    charles, please don’t imply that you are a conservative – it gives us a bad name. “Private property” is a term even a knuckle-dragger like yourself should understand.

    The law says you don’t have a legal right to a view. Period.

    The courts need to get tougher when these scum-balls are caught. Several years ago, a Magnolia matron got caught hiring tree assassins to expand her view on Magnolia Blvd. The judge could’ve given her jail time but didn’t, saying the embarrassment was enough. WRONG!! One day in jail would have made a WORLD of difference, not just to her, but to all the wanna-be Paula Bunyans out there. I’m surprised the reporter didn’t make at least a courtesy call on the property owner located behind the banner.

    Comment by Ex-West Seattleite — 2:14 pm December 27, 2010 #

  29. @charles sams – This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. The poisoner trespassed and then committed property damage. If you read the original article the property owner asked the neighbors to hire a professional arborist to prune the trees, and instead they ignored her and poisoned them. Trees are essential to slope stability and now the property of both parties is at risk. Yes there are alternatives to “scrub” alder, but the neighbors took the illegal option rather than taking the time and spending the money to resolve the issue with a neighbor who was willing to cooperate.

    Comment by JB — 3:10 pm December 27, 2010 #

  30. Charles, aka “The Troll,” Sams:

    Did you know that true conservatives believe in conservation? Didn’t think so.
    Funny how folks like you call yourselves conservatives, but give a cheer for anyone who commits acts of trespass and vandalism against people they disagree with. Also not conservative.
    Would you be so gleeful if someone came onto your property and cut the heads off of your red-white-and-blue garden gnomes?

    Comment by alejo699 — 3:38 pm December 27, 2010 #

  31. drshort, I guess I took your comment as implication that the property owner wasn’t doing that. But the article says she allowed topping until learning that it damages the trees. I guess we can argue about who should pay for arborists to prune them properly since they’re on her property but it’s others who want the view.

    Comment by datamuse — 4:51 pm December 27, 2010 #

  32. I hope the police at least question the 4 or 5 home owners on Victoria Avenue immediately up-slope from her house, that would benefit from the loss of those trees — you know, to see if they saw or heard anyone with chainsaws. Perhaps that sort of confrontation would make them crack.

    The perpetrator’s Karma will be his/her house eventually sliding down the hill. If it didn’t result in further damage to Ms. Cook’s property, I’d be happy to help push it down. Losers.

    Comment by 2wheels a-go-go — 5:07 pm December 27, 2010 #

  33. “charles sams” and “Stop the Complaining”, please step into your Hummer and drive back to Texas or Medina immediately. I’m from Texas and did move to be around more like-minded people and it would be nice if you would return the favor. The trees have been clear cut so no worries about them interfering with your view of Applebees and Super Target. Enjoy!

    Comment by Ladyblahblah — 8:01 pm December 27, 2010 #

  34. for the record, those alders aren’t trash. they’re one of three of the best species of trees to plant to stabilize steep slopes. and has anyone ever used their wood? it’s great for smoking meats.
    .
    and while they could serve the purpose of wrecking a whiny neighbor’s view relatively quickly, evergreens like douglas firs are the worst for slope stabilization. they have shallow, flat root structures.
    .
    charles sams: that’s a whole lot of pent up, impotent, passive/aggressive rage you got going there. did you come in second for the neighborhood citizenship award or something? :)

    Comment by redblack — 9:06 pm December 27, 2010 #

  35. I hope there is a special place in hell for tree butchers.

    Comment by elisa — 9:19 pm December 27, 2010 #

  36. Datamuse – Cook’s position was described as very reasonable to me.

    I wish the city was as reasonable. Most of the slopes and view blocking trees in that area are owned by the city and the it has taken a very “all trees are sacred” stance in the last 15 years. Even the viewpoiont parks are slowly being taken over by these weedlike trees.

    It troubles me to hear Mark Mead say “the loss of any tree is a big deal.” The city is letting vegatation on their property run wild and destroy the views of those who live near.

    Comment by drshort — 10:46 pm December 27, 2010 #

  37. There is a civil remedy if it can be proven who damaged or killed the trees. It is known as “timber trespass” and provides for treble damages and an award of attorney’s fees under the right circumstances.

    Comment by CThayer — 11:19 pm December 27, 2010 #

  38. drshort: it troubles me to hear someone call alder trees “weeds” and “weedlike,” no matter who owns them. they are native, and they are valuable. you should do a little more research.
    .
    sacred? no. valuable? yes.
    .
    sorry, but being a considerate neighbor does not include spending money to keep vegetation short enough to preserve someone else’s view. trees add aesthetic quality to a neighborhood, too; just as much as a nice paint job and a neat lawn. cutting them to preserve a view results in ugly trees, and as the article points out, it can damage them.
    .
    we had a guy behind us try to sell my next-door neighbors some rope-a-dope about cutting the steep-slope alder trees behind their house. claimed that some sort of safety was the issue, but he mentioned his view as a perk. claimed he would “share the cost.” he’s a lawyer.
    .
    my neighbor asked me what i thought. (i had eavesdropped.) i told her to tell him to go find a sand box and a hammer.
    .
    i hate con artists.

    Comment by redblack — 7:04 am December 28, 2010 #

  39. Replace the trees with fast-growing bamboo, as far up the hill as possible.

    Comment by Joe Schmoe — 7:59 am December 28, 2010 #

  40. The victim in this case tried her best to work with her neighbors, and allowed her trees to be modified not once, but twice, only to find that it wasn’t enough for the creepy beyond belief people living above her. I hope the bad karma of the tree-hating poisoner(s) ripens in the form of his/their house sliding to the point where it gets red-tagged and he/they are prohibited from living in it.

    If I owned the damaged property, the first thing I would do is build a huge fence and install web-cams all around my property. I would also get a dog or two to alert me in case intruders penetrate the fence. I would plant fast-growing red-alder and cottonwoods in the damaged area, and later native conifers, which can ultimately grow to heights of well over 100 feet. I would have my property inspected by a geotechnical engineer, especially the foundation, and upgrade any structural deficiencies. Finally I would make sure I have plenty of homeowner’s insurance in case the slope destabilizes.

    Comment by Mud Baby — 9:23 am December 28, 2010 #

  41. After decades of contempt for personal property and property rights, this is the inevitable result. As you sew, so shall you reap….

    Comment by George Hanshaw — 9:45 am December 28, 2010 #

  42. what are you saying, george? that disregard for one person’s view justifies destroying another person’s property? property which happens to be a part of the ecosystem and soil structure which actually *protects* the property up-slope?
    .
    i don’t believe anyone has “contempt for personal property and property rights” – except for the idiot who poisoned those trees. it seems s/he has contempt for her/his own property.

    Comment by redblack — 11:00 am December 28, 2010 #

  43. A lot of small homes along there have been torn down and replaced by behemoth condos. I wonder how the neighbor in back would feel if he woke up one morning and found a slab of concrete had replaced those awful view-blocking trees?

    Trees ARE a view.

    Comment by Ex-West Seattleite — 12:15 pm December 28, 2010 #

  44. Don’t these people realize it is this very vegegation and tree roots that keep this hill from sliding? They have done far more damage, in the long run, to themselves than they know.

    Comment by llunaticraven — 12:45 pm December 28, 2010 #

  45. In the 90′s I witnessed a slide in that area first hand. The Alder trees were the ones crashing down the slope, and I believe they actually hurt the slide issue more than helped it, especially on windy days. One actually crashed through a concrete garage in a condo. I estimate they were traveling at 30+ MPH when they hit to bottom.

    Probably a good idea to plant a hill with some type of groundcover. If anyone knows which is best that would be helpful

    Comment by M — 1:11 pm December 28, 2010 #

  46. Too late now, I guess, but nowadays inexpensive wireless webcams can be set up to do the job of security cameras.

    If, as it says in the article, the trees were growing on a steep slope, then this vandalism could end up killing Ms. Cook.

    Who remembers the heavy rains back in 1996 and after, when one Tacoma-area guy’s house ended up washed out into the Sound (the Coast Guard had to get it back to shore!)? And, more seriously, a young Bainbridge Island couple died in their home when it was buried under a landslide.

    Seriously, she should check how the water flows over this area during heavy rains. Water from above should be carried away in another direction and should not be allowed to saturate the top of the slope.

    Comment by Karen — 2:37 pm December 28, 2010 #

  47. I love how everyone is arguing about people’s right to have a view. BE HAPPY YOU HAVE A NICE HOME IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD. Poisoning someone’s trees on private property is despicable and illegal, bottom line. I don’t care what kind of tree it is.
    .
    It makes me sick listening to you entitled people acting like your water view being taken away is like becoming homeless. Poor rich babies.

    Comment by J.See — 2:42 pm December 28, 2010 #

  48. My initial reaction to this story may or may not have contained the sentence “I’m curious as to why leaf-stricken view [entirely appropriate but possibly banned plural noun also describing prostitutes] all over the city don’t just band together and empty tanker trucks full of Agent Orange onto the hillsides to really guarantee their views in perpetuity.”
    ·
    Apparently other parts of that post were against the comment policy also, so I reread that policy. Boiled down, at least one of the four neighbors at the center of this story is a prominent Seattle businessman, as you might expect. [Surely that doesn't violate the policy, ref!]
    ·
    We should all be savvy enough to do original research to find out who the neighbors are, and if we do that we will find that none of them are as “new to the neighborhood” as they told KING-TV they were, and that it’s pretty easy to pick out who might have done this. While law enforcement is not our responsibility, I believe that environmental stewardship is imperative, million dollar view or not.
    ·
    What you do with the information you find in the public record is up to you. I think a well-organized mail campaign would send a message. If there’s enough of an obvious and unmistakable public outcry, maybe we can have some effect on the entitlement mentality of the wealthy dolt(s) who might do (or, more likely have an acquaintance of a relative of a long lost friend hire henchmen–cash only–to do) other things like this in the future?
    ·
    I’m curious — Can a retaining wall be dug deep enough to blot out an empty soul?
    ·

    Comment by Concerned Neighbor — 2:48 pm December 28, 2010 #

  49. hear, hear J.See!

    Comment by HelperMonkey — 3:02 pm December 28, 2010 #

  50. This is an intriguing story! There have been lots of good comments and some surprising ones as well — it sounds like drshort, Sick of the Complaining and charles sams above are all directly affected by someone elses trees they wish they could butcher.

    Comment by Concerned Neighbor — 3:15 pm December 28, 2010 #

  51. People who like trees should move out of SEATTLE?! Where do you think you’re living that treehuggers are the ones out of place here? People who don’t like trees and instead want to look at a view should pay the price for one like EVERYONE ELSE.

    Comment by KiddingRight? — 3:20 pm December 28, 2010 #

  52. I’ll just share what an old real estate agent told me on this subject – “If you buy a property for the view, be sure you buy the view too. Every property owner has property rights, no one has view rights.”

    Comment by Dennis Rockwell — 4:17 pm December 28, 2010 #

  53. I notice in the article that Ms Cook already has three goats. I’m not sure she’d want to deal with a billy (intact male goat) but they are extremely territorial and aggressive towards any being they see as an intruder, including human beings. Drawbacks being the production of kids and the fact that billy goats smell.

    An even more effective solution would be a nice flock of geese that she raises from the shell herself, so they imprint on her. Geese are incredibly effective as watch animals and they do not like intruders. Five geese can send the largest dog running for safety and seven geese would take care of most humans but the most foolhardy. It isn’t just that they beat their victims with their wing joints (like being punched by a bare knuckle fighter), they also bite by grabbing a beak hold, then twisting their heads, which is incredibly painful for the victim. And being birds, it’s not enough just to wear high boots or chaps to deal with them; if attacking at thigh level doesn’t get them results, they have no problems with attacking at head level.

    Geese are also very loyal and loving towards any human they are imprinted on. They have interesting, amusing personalities and are entertaining enough to watch for hours.

    Comment by Grainne Dhu — 4:24 pm December 28, 2010 #

  54. “Conservatives” love considering themselves “property rights” proponents, until it ceases to benefit their agenda.

    The people responsible for this vandalism are easy to find. Just look uphill.

    Comment by Brad — 4:46 pm December 28, 2010 #

  55. Attack geese! I love that idea! I’m fairly certain that whoever stooped low enough to do this would look up foie gras recipes as soon as he saw them though.

    Comment by Concerned Neighbor — 5:46 pm December 28, 2010 #

  56. Please don’t slam all Conservatives! One or two really stupid apples shouldn’t spoil the bunch.

    Personally, I’m thinking she needs a tall fence and a really big dog. Akitas are nice, and so are Chow-Chows. They don’t like unannounced company. No sir, not one bit. They also like to be outdoors 24/7. They’re bred to guard property, not to sit on the couch.

    I hope whoever gets caught gets the book thrown at them, and she gets her slope stabilized quickly.

    Comment by Grace — 6:03 pm December 28, 2010 #

  57. I truly appreciate the interest you have all shown in this hopeless situation. The comment by “a concerned neighbor” is one that indicates h/she has at least done their homework. Perhaps more of you will take the advise and follow through. To clarify a few points, I did not plant Alder trees, but have over the years planted vegetation that is specifically recomended for sensitive hill stabilization.This has taken place over a period of time after the severe mudslide of 1986. Many of these plants were mysteriously removed. For those of you who prefer living in a concrete jungle, I have sympathy. Imagine a habitat where the only living species is man. Few of the comments refer to the amazing wildlife we in West Seattle enjoy. I seriously wonder how many birds and other creatures were likewise poisened. The real truth is that the trees are only growing on property I own, I do not claim ownership, as in the often quoted Chief Sealth statement, “How can you own the Earth?”

    Comment by Kaly Cook — 7:01 pm December 28, 2010 #

  58. Way to go Kaly! Maybe you should gather some of your friends who do like the tree’s and plant even more! I know Seattle was offering trees to certain neighborhoods at one point, but I don’t know now if they still do. How about painting your roof some really loud eye drawing offensive color..with a message. ” Here’s your view tree killer”… Wouldn’t that really help their view? Freedom of speech.haha

    Comment by sonotreal — 8:10 pm December 28, 2010 #

  59. @ Concerned Neighbor December 28, 10 2:48 pm – Thanks for hitting the nail directly on the head.

    Comment by Been There — 8:11 pm December 28, 2010 #

  60. kaly: understood. those alders were most likely planted before your house was built. they have been there a long time for a reason. even though you can’t really own them in the greater scheme of things, you do own them according to our laws.
    .
    M: alders are good for helping to stabilize steep slopes, but the entire world is a watershed, and eventually everything will find its way to the ocean. just because you witnessed alders being uprooted in a landslide doesn’t mean that they are ineffective. and it sure as hell doesn’t justify their removal.
    .
    other good species for stabilization are willows and cascara.
    .
    ground cover doesn’t do much to prevent landslides, and in fact creates a separation between the top soil and the underlying glacial till. while low plants are good for netting the top soil together, the whole network should be anchored with good rooting trees.
    .
    this topic might be a digression, but it’s important to note that the tree killers might be responsible for destabilizing the hillside that holds up their own houses. (eventually.)

    Comment by redblack — 11:08 pm December 28, 2010 #

  61. drshort, how do you reconcile your claim that the city has taken a “all trees are sacred” stance with the FACT that Seattle has lost 70% of its urban tree canopy in the last 20 years…a FACT that continues to escalate?

    Comment by anonyme — 6:51 am December 29, 2010 #

  62. To the person who recommended chow chows as dogs…I wouldn’t if I had little kids, or were going to have more than one or two dogs. Chow chows are overly agressive in packs, and react strongly to what they consider prey behavior (I grew up in a rural area, and most pack attacks were led by chow chows).

    Speaking as another conservative- all property rights should be respected. Period. Her property was defaced, and those responsible should be punished. There are reasonable solutions for neighborly conduct in this thread, and it probably didn’t take more than an open mind. It’s too bad those responsible couldn’t have stopped by for a cup of coffee and a chat- like real neighbors.

    Comment by WSRobin — 1:43 pm December 29, 2010 #

  63. I wonder how the person(s) who poisoned the trees will enjoy the view of broken, dead trees?

    Comment by DB — 7:33 pm December 29, 2010 #

  64. anonyme: This discussion is all but dead, but you really have your FACTS wrong.
    .
    Seattle has absolutely not lost 70% of it’s tree canopy in the last 20 years. There is an often quoted study that notes “Seattle’s” tree canopy has gone from 40% to 18%. Well, the problem is that the “Seattle” they are talking about is the Seattle area and includes suburbs far outside the city. 90% of the “Seattle” area in the study is outside of the city.

    http://www.americanforests.org/downloads/rea/AF_PugetSound.pdf
    .
    But city officials keep quoting these numbers.
    .
    Then the city commissioned a recent study and found the canopy is actually 23% in Seattle and has increased in the since 2002. I don’t know why Mark Mead said we’re still losing canopy.
    .
    http://seattle.gov/trees/docs/NCDC_Final_Project_Report.pdf
    .
    There are few facts and lots of people have agenda’s on this topic.

    Comment by drshort — 11:30 am December 30, 2010 #

  65. Although I had already read about this happening on this blog, our local ABC affliate here in Houston, TX, just aired the story on this.

    Not that there aren’t trees that probably need to be trimmed up, but this is not how to remedy the situation. Just awful what was done.

    Comment by Peggy Van Aller — 3:01 pm December 30, 2010 #

  66. Gosh if those trees would’ve been planted before Kaly lived in that house they’d be be over a 100 feet tall. She’s been there since the 1960′s..

    Comment by blaine — 3:42 pm December 30, 2010 #

  67. Just to let commenters know, Keri just perused what’s been opined here and noticed something – she had sent me a change to one key line of the story that I didn’t see – and just one missing word changed an important line. Her final version was supposed to read, Seattle PARKS have lost two percent of their trees in the past … etc. I am changing the copy. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:36 pm December 30, 2010 #

  68. Here’s a some photos of west seattle parks from 40 – 50 years ago.

    http://clerk.seattle.gov/~archives/photos/75/1200/75971.jpg

    http://clerk.seattle.gov/~archives/photos/70/1200/70928.gif

    http://clerk.seattle.gov/~archives/photos/56/1200/56666.gif

    In general, when you look at the historical pictures of Seattle parks there are far more trees now. Perhaps the city is losing park trees because they’re all getting old at the same time.

    Comment by drshort — 5:28 pm December 30, 2010 #

  69. blaine: the alders on my block are 60-80 feet tall, and they were probably planted – or seeded naturally – sometime in the ’40′s or ’50′s.

    Comment by redblack — 7:30 am December 31, 2010 #

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