UPDATE: Outrage after 100+ trees cut without permission on city-owned West Seattle slopes

(UPDATED 7:27 PM with additional information from Councilmember Herbold)

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Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Christopher Boffoli

“Is THAT the clearcut?”

The question came from someone we passed while walking up from the first East Admiral street end where we’d stopped to seek an overview of the city-owned slope where, as first reported by The Seattle Times last night, 100+ trees have been cut illegally.

We were in the wrong place but subsequently found the two street ends where you can see the trees’ remains firsthand: 33rd and City View, where a short trail leads north to an overview of the south end of the area, and the north end of 35th SW, where you can look directly onto the slashed slope. Those areas are below and to the left of the “AW1” designation in the Green Seattle Partnership map we’ve embedded below:

You can manipulate that map to get a better perspective, via the aerial view, of exactly where that is. It’s not far from Admiral Way, but you can’t see it from that road – you really have to be right up next to it to see what has happened.

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Also out for a look today: City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and City Attorney Pete Holmes, whose office is investigating the illegal cutting. Herbold posted about it via Facebook, and added, “I was assured that criminal and civil sanctions are on the table for the responsible parties.”

We’ve been researching since late last night, when people started sending us the Times link (thank you), expressing outrage that this had happened, and not been noticed and made public until now. The area where it happened is actually in what’s known as the Duwamish Head Greenbelt – similar name to the West Duwamish Greenbelt further south, but not connected to that larger stretch of public forest. The Duwamish Head Greenbelt stretches across part of East Alki, too, though it’s not a contiguous stretch as is the WDG. It was expanded with acquisitions funded by 2008’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy; we haven’t yet found this specific property’s history (as in, how long the city has owned it), aside from that two separate parcels are involved.

Meantime, the Times’ report suggests this may have happened weeks ago. The question we’ve heard most often today is, how could no one notice? Certainly that much tree-cutting could not have gone unseen/unheard, as more than a few homes border and/or have views into this area.

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That takes the question to, who knew what was going on? It brought to mind the totem-pole theft from Rotary Viewpoint Park six years ago, when passersby and even a police officer thought the pole’s removal was sanctioned.

We won’t be able to talk with the investigating agencies until Monday; Times reporter Daniel Beekman wrote that the city would only provide him with “scant details” about the investigation. As he pointed out, we found that the trees’ remains carry metal tags:

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East Admiral’s slopes have a lot of change going on. A short distance upslope to the west, at least two new homes are under construction. A short distance to the south is the future 14-house project at 3601 Fauntleroy SW, on a sloped (but privately owned) site that according to an arborist’s report holds at least 100 trees.

Back to the newly revealed case – we don’t know if a police case is open; we checked the SPD Police Report map, going back three weeks, and don’t see anything in that specific area. But if you have any information, contact the City Attorney’s Office at 206-684-8200. Here’s one more look – our Instagram video clip with a 360 of the SW City View end of the site (mouse over the image to bring up the “play” button):

P.S. The last major local case of tree destruction, ostensibly for views, was five years ago, when a Harbor Avenue resident hung a protest banner on trees upslope from her home that she said were poisoned.

7:27 PM UPDATE: From a followup exchange with Councilmember Herbold, she says investigators have not yet identified exactly who was responsible but are talking with someone who does know. She also spoke with Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas today and was told that Mayor Murray “also intends to see that appropriate sanctions are sought.”

152 Replies to "UPDATE: Outrage after 100+ trees cut without permission on city-owned West Seattle slopes"

  • WS_born March 26, 2016 (4:40 pm)

    This is 100% an attempt to improve views and home values. Same thing that happened on Beach Drive years ago. The houses right up against this clear cut are clearly the most likely suspects. Could have been just one of them, or several, but as others have said, you cant run a chainsaw for hours on end (not to mention the sound large trees make when they fall) and no one notice. I hope the city decides to make an example of the offender(s). Someone knows who did it, only a matter of time before they are caught. What’s in question is if the city will exact a punishment that fits the crime? I think it’s pretty clear residents of West Seattle feel this type of behavior is completely unacceptable and deserves to be prosecuted.

    • Nancy April 11, 2016 (3:13 pm)

      It is the pure selfishness of an act like this that is very discouraging.

  • Oakley34 March 26, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    Self important arrogant scumbags.

    • Caroline March 27, 2016 (12:20 pm)

      YEP!

  • Alan March 26, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    Beyond the horror of what this individual (or individuals) did, I couldn’t help but notice that the Green Seattle Partnership shows a fair amount of encroachment into the greenbelt all along the east side of that section of 35th. Those neighbors may not appreciate the attention drawn to this part of the greenbelt since that was a City Council topic just 10 days ago.

    http://westseattleblog.com/2016/03/public-land-unauthorized-private-use-city-council-briefing-tomorrow-on-park-encroachment-removal/

    • Oakley34 March 26, 2016 (5:42 pm)

      thanks for mentioning this, as I seem to have missed that story.  I don’t understand why ‘encroachment removal funds’ should be part of any levy…shouldn’t those encroaching on city land foot the bill to square the situation?

  • David March 26, 2016 (4:54 pm)

  • Ann March 26, 2016 (4:54 pm)

    This makes me sad.

  • JanS March 26, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    curious, indeed

  • Gina March 26, 2016 (5:03 pm)

    This is near the area where ivy  and day lighting have been ongoing as some sort of restoration project. If I was driving by, I would think it was more of the same.  Many flowering cherry trees were removed in the past as being non-native species.

  • TheKing March 26, 2016 (5:09 pm)

    This will make for an interesting investigation as you get the feeling whoever is resonsible can afford the potential fines. I am curious to see, because of the scale of damage, if this will make it a felony charge. Along with the fines a restoration order should be imposed at least. Money can buy your way out of anything these days. 

  • Hmm March 26, 2016 (5:11 pm)

    There is also a parcel of land right at the corner of City View and Admiral in which someone has put camo colored bee hives and built what appears to be a personal shed. I’m going to check to see if that is City property as well…..I’m amazed at how people just think they can do whatever they want.

    • bees wax March 27, 2016 (10:28 am)

      Please talk with the neighbors in that community to learn the history of that space. That area was a garbage dump and overgrown with blackberries and holly (invasive species!) before the guy who owns the beehives cleaned it. Now it’s the closest thing to a park that neighborhood has. No trees were cut. And incidentally, the city is aware of and has endorsed the beehives. Please don’t lump that place in with folks who cut trees to enhance their view.

    • Kimberley March 28, 2016 (6:47 am)

      I believe that parcel is owned by a close-by property owner. It’s not one of the illegal parcels that has been clear cut. That particular parcel has been an open space for almost ten years. Additionally, many kids play in that area, and the addition of log and other plantings has stopped people from simply parking their cars all over it. If only that would work for other areas of the neighbourhood.

  • canton March 26, 2016 (5:45 pm)

    By the looks of those stumps, wasn’t the first time they have been cut.

  • Robert March 26, 2016 (5:46 pm)

    Any reputable arborists would not take this job.  Would be curious if any of them were approached about this illegal job and turned it down.

  • Admiral 981 March 26, 2016 (6:12 pm)

    They are not the only ones cutting trees on public property to improve their view. Look at an aerial image of 1747 Sunset Ave and it is clear they have done the same. The tree cutting is very noticeable when you pass beneath the property along Bonair. Anyone know the appropriate agency to report these things to? I hate to see cheaters win.

    • JS March 26, 2016 (8:32 pm)

      Admiral 981, if you check Google maps street view, it shows these trees looking very dead. Maybe that was a factor in deciding to cut them.

      • WSB March 26, 2016 (8:39 pm)

        JS, which GSV are you referring to? I have a couple screen grabs from last night. Looking north from the north end of 35th, one of the access spots, the 2014 view in GSV was lush, to say the least. However, I didn’t publish for comparison because GSV doesn’t peer directly down the slope.

        • JS March 26, 2016 (9:08 pm)

          WSB, I’m referring to Admiral 981’s comment regarding trees below 1747 Sunset on Bonair, not the clear cut in the headline. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Kimberley March 28, 2016 (6:48 am)

      I’ve seen random trucks parked along Bon Air with the occupants closely inspecting trees. The last time that happened (two weeks ago on the upper Bon Air portion), I stopped and took a picture of the truck’s license plate before carrying on down Bon Air. The people quickly got back into their vehicle and took off.

    • Impacted Neighbor March 28, 2016 (2:51 pm)

      If the trees are on a slope, it’s likely designated as a environmentally critical area and establishes some protections for trees.  You can report removals through the Department of Construction and Inspection’s (DCI) complaint page (below). 

      http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/makeacomplaint/default.htm

      If you ever see anyone in the act of removing trees on such land, you can request to see their permit.  If not permit is provided, call (206) 615-0808; DCI has indicated that calling is better in these situations because they can respond faster.

       

  • pmc March 26, 2016 (6:35 pm)

    There are enough “flat top” trees in that Green Belt starting with the
    part that overlooks the WS bridge.  But this is truly a property value greed move. 

    There should be legal repercussions .

    BTW 
    If their house/s slides into Admiral  because the green belt is unstable do we the tax payers pay for it?
    • Joe Szilagyi March 26, 2016 (9:47 pm)

      “If their house/s slides into Admiral  because the green belt is unstable do we the tax payers pay for it?”

      There should be explicit legislation that if a house slides because of actions by the people in the house or their owners that the city should pay $0.00 in helping them. Their mess, their debt.
      • John March 27, 2016 (5:22 pm)

        Joe,

        The city already has laws that go far beyond what you suggest.

        By current code, anyone building in the critical areas must sign and record a legal covenant absolving the city of all responsibility.   See the code at SMC 22.170.00

        The form provided goes well beyond reason and savvy developers know to have an attorney negotiate with the city attorney lest they take responsibility for their whole neighborhood.

    • Caroline March 27, 2016 (12:25 pm)

      You bring up an interesting question, pmc.   I have a home in a treed neighbourhood with one of these green belts installed to improve drainage on the slopes.  It should be criminal to do the type of damage that is seen in this lovely neighbourhood.   I follow the story with interest. 

  • KNEEDLER March 26, 2016 (6:37 pm)

    Absolutely disgusting.  

    :(

  • willistheclown March 26, 2016 (6:42 pm)

    My guess is that the entire neighborhood(or those who benefit) is in on it.  No other way that someone would not have called it in and/or know some details.

    This will come out sooner or later as someone will break.

  • Morgan March 26, 2016 (6:55 pm)

    How did the person in the yellow/gold house not know this was going on?  The other neighbors?  Apparently this neighborhood doesn’t understand landslides.  Their houses will be worth nothing if a slide occurs from this tree destruction.

    • Oakley34 March 26, 2016 (7:53 pm)

      I wouldn’t single out a neighboring house just because it would be impossible for them not to notice.  As noted by the WSB often times stuff goes unreported just because it seems like legitimate activity.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t ‘in on it’, but proximity doesn’t necessarily mean they are.

  • Beth March 26, 2016 (6:57 pm)

    Oakley34, you took the words right out of my mouth!

    • Cass Turnbull March 29, 2016 (6:03 am)

      It is quite clear from looking at location of the clear cut that four houses specifically benefit from the the cutting. That is, if you like a sweeping view of the City with a gawd awful looking clearcut in the foreground. The cut goes directly up to their back yards and patios. One of them had to hear it and would have reported  the awful mess and noise. In turns out they  were in cahoots, as shown by the fact that they have lawyered up with one firm and approached the City.

  • whalewatcher March 26, 2016 (7:06 pm)

    I came back from a trip and saw the southern part of the destruction had occurred. That would put it in mid-January. I then saw some people doing follow-up work. It looked like a bunch of community volunteers.

    • Kimberley March 28, 2016 (6:51 am)

      That would explain in the increase in run off water around that same time frame down in the City View neighbourhood and as far down as Harbor / Spokane.

  • pmc March 26, 2016 (7:14 pm)

    I bet  insurance premiums going up for all affected (slide danger brought about by local vandalism ) would bring peer pressure and short work to this kind of view enhancing. Just a thought

  • aRF March 26, 2016 (7:25 pm)

    Double the property taxes of anyone who benefits from a better view.

  • Clark March 26, 2016 (7:42 pm)

    Seriously? So what if someone cut down some trees in their back yard, there are much larger issues that should be dealt with in Seattle, instead of who cut down some trees.

    • AmandaKH March 26, 2016 (8:25 pm)

      It’s not their backyard.  That land doesn’t belong to them, so in fact, it is a big deal.

    • JS March 26, 2016 (8:29 pm)

      It’s not their backyard. It is city owned property.

    • LC March 26, 2016 (8:46 pm)

      Amen Clark!

      just plant new trees. Problem solved.

      • Mike March 27, 2016 (7:24 pm)

        Mature trees with real roots do a lot more to protect a slope from landslides than saplings will. As a troll, are you hoping to make a home in one of those stumps?

      • Bryan March 29, 2016 (9:21 am)

        That’s intended for LC, not for MIKE.

      • Xeno March 30, 2016 (9:05 am)

        LC,

        Sure plant new trees that are 10 years old and have a root system that can stabilize that hillside? Yeah, sure… easy. I hope your house is the first to slide down that hill you republican tool.

    • MsD March 26, 2016 (10:17 pm)

      Some people just aren’t cut out to live in society due to ignorance and/or arrogance.

    • wsea98116 March 26, 2016 (11:29 pm)

      Actually, Clark- it is a really big deal. These green spaces provide a priceless benefit to the community, and make west Seattle the beautiful, natural, healthy urban space it is.  If these people get away with cutting OUR  trees down, other view seeking b***holes will follow, and petty soon, WS will be as natural as hwy 99 in Lynwood. 

    • Mike March 27, 2016 (1:01 am)

      1) Not their backyard

      2) You can’t clear cut in Seattle even on your own property without permitting

      3) It destabilized the ground and put multiple residences at risk of 100% catastrophic loss if )

      4) If you don’t understand this, please go back to school and learn about geology, I knew this in 3rd grade.

    • Cass Turnbull March 29, 2016 (7:10 am)

      There are bigger issues in the City. One of them is the City’s invisible environmental crisis, and  there is the livability issue that threatens to undo the Density Movement.  The environmental crisis is being created incrementally,as we  cover permeable land (back yards, green belts, vacant lots, parks) with impermeable surfaces (buildings, streets). You can’t plant new trees where there is concrete.  It has cost the City. We are currently in big trouble with the EPA because the dirty stormwater runoff from city streets is  polluting  Puget Sound. The Sound is listed is one of the most polluted bodies of water in the nation. Trees and green spaces capture, cool, slow  and clean  stormwater.

      Without sufficient trees and open space there are more days of smog, the summer temperatures are higher, there is more road and basement flooding,  potholes,  and noise. It’s been shown that the combination of heat, stress, and poor air quality increases related health problems such as asthma attacks, heart failure and heat stroke especially in poorer neighborhoods. Who pays to fix roads, install rain gardens, medic one calls, sewer system upgrades, treatment plants, etc. Well, that would be the taxpayers. A single tree cutting incident not may not have a significant environmental impact by itself but add them up and you have that ‘bigger issue’.

      If we don’t take it seriously, our walkable/bikable streets become a joke. When the dense City becomes too hot, dirty, and ugly through a series of small actions, the  people will again flee to the suburbs and small towns. In fact, that is what is happening now and it defeats the goal of Smart Growth. We need to save exisiting greenspace and even add to the public green space to mitigate the effects of the building boom. What no one seems to get is that you can accommodate housing needs by building higher in the City, and you do not need to cover every square inch of green space  to do that. People don’t like tall buildings and neither do I. But they will come sooner or later. The question is will there be enough green space left to make it tolerable.

  • humanbeen March 26, 2016 (7:45 pm)

    Trees cut in schmitz park off 52nd ave trail for views. 

  • Duwamish Longhouse March 26, 2016 (8:17 pm)

    Earth Day is April 22, 2016

    This year’s theme.  TREES FOR THE EARTH

    “Let’s start planting..Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees”  That’s 1 per person on plant earth.   

    Why Trees?

    Trees help combat climate change. They absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles.

    Trees help us breathe clean air. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

    Trees help communities. Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income. – See more at: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/earth-day-theme/#sthash.l1Iw10TL.dpuf

  • pmc March 26, 2016 (8:43 pm)

     By city owned it means that is our green belt held in public trust. The city we pay taxes too will have to aunty up and pay any law suit won by someone who house/car/property would be harmed by a slide on that unstable slope. So those property owners are gambling with our money for theirprofit.  Thats a big deal

  • lookingforlogic March 26, 2016 (9:03 pm)

    The property owners that cut the trees down know that it was illegal or they would come forward.  Take statements from all that would benefit from the clear cutting  and have them sign. it.  It is immoral  and illegal to make false statements and then they can live and eventually die with their lies.  Justify and rationalize that you are entitled to your actions, but out and out lying whether you did it or not simply makes you a liar.

    Revelations 20:11-12

     

  • aRF March 26, 2016 (9:13 pm)

    Alternatively, this could be a new Nickelsville.

  • Wscommuter March 26, 2016 (9:38 pm)

    Timber trespass, the illegal cutting of trees or shrubs, is actually a statutorily created civil action in WA.  The penalty is treble (triple) damages (all trees have a “blue book” value based on species and age [as measured by the tree stump]) plus attorney’s fees.  Based on nothing more than looking at this picture, and how many trees were cut, this is easily a $500K+ action against whomever did it.  

  • ScubaFrog March 26, 2016 (9:45 pm)

    This could be devastating to that hillside, and the homes.  We need those trees on our hillsides to negate erosion, and help prevent landslides.  These areas are not just swaths of weeds, trees and underbrush the city keeps, for no reason.  I don’t think a lot of people understand how crucial root structures are here – look at Oso.  Also, ‘it’s no big deal, cutting down trees! just plant more!’?  :O  These can’t be West Seattleites?  Hopefully it’s sarcasm.

    • Cass Turnbull March 29, 2016 (7:35 am)

      Unfortunately it is not just illegal cutting that threatens our Critical Areas. There is plenty of it that is sanctioned by the City itself. The Development Department, what ever it is called now,  regularly grants permission  to build in Critical Areas–areas designated as salmon habitat, steep slopes and wetlands.  Yes, developers get to do that, but they have to pay into a mitigation fund. Too bad we neglected to ask that the mitigation money be spent to purchase offsetting green space in Seattle. It all goes outside the City limits. We can look forward to seeing the trees and privately owned ‘green belts’ of the City become more  MacMansions and  ‘Death Star trenches’, like the ones on Dexter and Aurora that used to be refreshing green hillsides.

      • Marlene March 29, 2016 (8:08 am)

        Cass, you are so right about the city’s process now! I’m extremely concerned about the approval of the 14-home development on 3601 Fauntleroy SW (mentioned in the original WSB blog post), which is nearby. That slope is quite steep, is wet all year long, and contains many trees and underbrush. IMHO, it’s a landslide waiting to happen if it’s developed. I’m hoping that Lisa Herbold can investigate this development.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 26, 2016 (9:49 pm)

    Whoever did this needs jail time and to eat the cost of trials and criminal records. Take no plea bargain or deal, City Attorney Pete Holmes. Make an example.

    Our previous useless City Attorney, Tom Carr, set awful precedent by letting that judge who did the same thing walk away with no jail time some years ago. That judge should have perp walked in shackles. Whomever did this should as well.

  • dsa March 26, 2016 (10:07 pm)

    Actually the roots hold the hillside, not the upper part of the tree.  The upper part sways in the wind, which disturbs the ground and causes the wet earth to slide.  The nice thing with deciduous is with their leaves gone, they sway less in the stormy months.  So cutting them may or may not have erosion benefits.

    Incidently, I believe the land between Sunset and Bonair is private.

    • JS March 26, 2016 (11:09 pm)

      DSA, check out King County Parcel Viewer for this specific location.  Records show it is owned by WASHINGTON STATE OPEN SPACE PR. on the east and SEATTLE CITY OF FAS on the west of Bonair, below (west of) 1747 Sunset Ave SW.

    • Amalia March 27, 2016 (10:18 am)

      Intact trees prevent a great deal of moisture from reaching the ground. They also suck water up from the ground. They are vital to preventing landslide. Roots of dead trees rot and become ineffective. Cutting is NOT beneficial in stabilizing slopes.

  • Paul Roberts March 26, 2016 (10:55 pm)

    Looks bad.   But the forest health looks even worse.  From the age of the scrub trees this would have been clear ground only a few years ago.  There were some decent trees cut.  Managed tree production for erosion control, beautification and restoration to primeval forest takes a long time but can be helped with selective plantings and cutting.  First come Scotch Broom and blackberries then the Alder/Elm type trees them eventually some real trees.  Jump the gun, plant some Fir, Cedar and Maple.  Selective goat feeding and fire might help.

  • OG March 26, 2016 (11:02 pm)

    Defenitely multiple suspects involved here. Really disgusting people who do not understand what is right. 

  • wsea98116 March 26, 2016 (11:10 pm)

    No DSA-  a cut down tree leaves a dying stump, whose roots shrink and decompose. The missing tree will also no longer support the native  brush and scrub which it had  protected and nurtured in ways we cannot understand, leading to a vastly destabilized slope. Get a clue, DSA- The only reason this slope exists thusfar, is due to the naturally occurring stabilization provided by these codependant plants. 

  • Kravitz March 27, 2016 (3:16 am)

    Looks like LC and Clark would like to donate their labor and personally fund the replacement of the 100 or so trees that were illegally removed. “Problem solved.” 

    While the majority of comments on this particular string are on point, I’m always disheartened with the small selection of folks that simply don’t get it. It’s pretty disgusting, really. Almost as sickening as the person or people that did this in the first place.

    • pupsarebest March 27, 2016 (3:26 pm)

      Well said! 👍🏻

  • RayWest March 27, 2016 (5:39 am)

    I don’t know if the people in that pinkish house had anything to do with this disgusting crime, but after looking at how close that home is to the embankment, I would be afraid–very, very afraid–to live there.   Seattle is the landslide capital of the world for a very good reason.

  • Robert March 27, 2016 (8:13 am)

    The Mayor should set the equivalent of a “911” for illegal tree cutting. Now you aren’t certain if you should call SPD, Parks, Planning Department or the DOT.

  • Mark schletty March 27, 2016 (8:19 am)

    The people who do this do it for the view. They are well-off and dont care about a fine. The only way to stop this is to take away their gain. The City should immediately put up a fence/wall high enough to block their view, and keep it there until replantings are large enough to again block the view. The County should immediately send out tax assessors to reassess all of the properties benefited and immediately raise their property taxes to the highest level possible, including special assessments to pay for the wall and replanting. Offer a large reward for info leading to conviction to entice neighbors or even the cutters to rat out the culprits. The new high taxes should encourage any innocent beneficiaries to provide info and the reward will do the same. Then prosecute to the most extreme level possible and absolutely impose prison time as, again, the culprits dont mind fines.

  • JayDee March 27, 2016 (8:40 am)

    In the Times Story, it was reported that many of the trees were big leaf maples:

    “Jon Jainga, urban forestry manager for the parks department, said
    officials have counted 153 downed trees. Most of them were mature
    big-leaf maples, he said.”

    I didn’t see stumps or trunks of large trees but Big Leaf Maples are in high demand as wood for guitars and furniture. If they were Big Leafs and there are no trunks around, use the wood value to increase the fine.

  • Cosmos March 27, 2016 (8:49 am)

    Confiscate the culprits’ property, tear down their house, and add it to the greenbelt. 

    THAT is the fairest punishment, and would be a significant deterrent to anyone else thinking about cutting down trees on city property.

  • Elle Nell March 27, 2016 (8:51 am)

    Who are these people and where do they come from ??? 

    We must protect our land and our native species, trees most definitely included… 

    Self entitlement has invaded Seattle and people are not going to take it.

    Talk about a political revolution, well we need to have a conversation with the folks that believe they are the only things that matter on this earth… Remind them they are NOT! We are conscious here and they need to get on board!!! 

    this is VERY important, as its destroying our nurtured culture here in Seattle.  As well as our quality of life! 

    I say, THROW away the key on these A holes!!! 

  • Joan March 27, 2016 (8:59 am)

    This is awful and I do hope the folks who took it upon themselves to damage the greenbelt are punished.

    This brings up another issue that comes to mind regarding views.   Considering how blessed so many of us are in West Seattle with magnificent views that are not only good for the soul but play a significant role in property value,  I remain amazed that there seem to be no regulations in place to protect existing view shed.   We currently have one 4 story monstrosity out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood, blocking a corner of our view of the sound but much more seriously impacting the views of at least 3 other homes.  A few years ago, careless building a block away so stressed a giant sequoia it dropped limbs – thank god it survived.

    With the current building boom this is only going to amplify if more serious rules aren’t put in place.  And folks whose views have been blocked by out of control building are, I suspect, more likely to take out trees to get their view back.

  • J & M March 27, 2016 (9:36 am)

    Reading most of the respondents utter disgust, and outrage, reminds me of petulant children kicking and screaming trying to get what they want. Which is exactly what (if you accept the premise trees were cut for views) the tree cutting accomplished but in an introverted way. 

    Perhaps there were (formal) efforts to top the trees or remove and plant other types of trees that would hold the ridge and actually be pleasing to see. We don’t know, but most can attest that dealing with our fair city’s permit process is a joke at best, and a ridiculously flawed and failed system at worst.

    So for all the rage…both “sides” are wrong, and that’s what happens when the structures of our systems are broken.  Carry on as usual…but remember, complaining takes ZERO talent. 

    Here’s solution: Suspend judgement. Learn the facts. Bring them forward. Co-create a new solution set, by applying fair-minded critical thinking, with ALL parties represented.

    • Mark schletty March 27, 2016 (9:45 am)

      Why in the world should the “side” that consists of persons deliberately destroying public property for personal gain be included? They are felons. This isn’t just illegal tree cutting, it is felonious destruction of public property.

    • AMD March 27, 2016 (11:19 am)

      I fail to see how being angry that perfectly healthy, mature trees that were providing ecological benefits and did not belong to the people who cut them down is wrong.

      There are two sides to the story, yes.  One of them has broken the law.  The other wishes the first had not broken the law.

      @Orca, I agree that a couple solutions presented here are a bit extreme, but I also feel the penalties on the books are pretty paltry when considering the financial resources of those who stand to gain from the clearing.  I feel like I can be outraged at both destruction of a greenbelt AND car prowl; they’re not mutually exclusive.

    • F & U March 27, 2016 (2:34 pm)

      Well J&M, when I was a kid my house was hit with a landslide, and my dad and brother nearly were killed… all because our upslope neighbors at the top of the hill decided they wanted a better view and didn’t give a f### about the consequences of their actions.  And that was on THEIR land.

      I don’t know who lives underneath this slope here but if you’re comfortable equivocating theft, trespass, cutting without a permit and reckless ‘geological’ endangerment with the anger over someone committing these crimes, then you’re a deeply thoughtless and selfish person.

  • Norma March 27, 2016 (9:58 am)

    I really don’t understand.  Now these homes have an industrial view with ugly stumps to look at and added noise.  We live on view property with beautiful tall evergreens.  Many have said it’s too bad we can’t cut the trees.  My response is that we probably could with permission from the city but I prefer looking at trees and watching birds and other wildlife.  I also appreciate the protection against erosion and landslides in earthquakes and heavy  rainfall.  

  • Kittyno March 27, 2016 (10:00 am)

    This is pretty awesome:  

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/councils-are-hitting-back-at-residents-who-poison-trees-to-preserve-their-ocean-views/story-fni0cx12-1226950413637

    I’d love to see a similar measure here.  Maybe a giant billboard that states:  THESE TREES WERE ILLEGALLY CUT

  • anonyme March 27, 2016 (10:00 am)

    J & M: sounds like perp talk to me.  You don’t by any chance live adjacent to the crime scene, do you?  BTW, no tree should EVER be “topped”.  Learn the facts…

    Mark got it right.  There is no “other side”.  This is a crime, and there is no justification for it.  I also have a fair penance in mind: if any home owner is indeed found guilty, a lien should be placed against their property that would adjust to be equal to, or greater than, any future selling price.

  • Reed March 27, 2016 (10:04 am)

    There needs to be criminal investigation

  • ellenp March 27, 2016 (10:09 am)

    I looked at the google earth view that shows a before view of the tree removal incident and it looks like this has occurred before (30 years ago?)…..the trees in the image are all young and uncut.

  • Amalia March 27, 2016 (10:21 am)

    I have to agree with the people saying that the wealthy culprit(s) won’t care. I was just in a hearing where a $100K fine was levied on a developer for illegal clearing, and he replied “Can I write a check now?” The view and yard created were worth that much for the property sale.  Sucks what money can buy.

  • New thinking needed March 27, 2016 (10:28 am)

    Wasn’t it a court (or government review board) that ordered a large evergreen tree be removed so as not to infringe on the neighbor across the street view up in N Seattle? The neighbor across the street was a former professional baseball player who claimed the tree was blocking something like 25% of their view eastward towards Lake Wa.  

    That seemed pretty nutty to me that a property owner would be ordered to remove a tree to improve someone else’s view. The property owner was ‘permitted’ to replant after the evergreen was removed….

     

    • chemist March 27, 2016 (12:59 pm)

      Clyde Hill and not Seattle…  John Olerud was the baseball player involved.

    • John March 27, 2016 (2:05 pm)

      New research needed.

      Before posting why not check on your ‘facts’.

      The incident you refer to is not in Seattle, but in the East Side where Seattle codes do not apply and there are developments with view covenants.   

  • Orca March 27, 2016 (10:33 am)

    This really stupid thing to do.  If the persons who did it can be identified…they shout pay the penality the law describes. 

    However, the the vicious remarks here are really over the top.. 

    If it were possible..posters here would gladly stone them .

    Geeez!    

    This  not world shattering , nor does it rise to the severity of many other problems in our area .

    Crime…breaking, car prowls, gun fire in neighborhoods,   Those are the things to be outraged about  

    Let  the authorities sort them out .

    • RayWest March 27, 2016 (11:28 am)

      Orca, it is much more than a stupid thing to do. Left unchecked and unregulated, this activity, done legally or not, would have serious repercussions. If someone on a hilltop decides to remove trees below them and there is another property owner further down, it is putting that person and their home at risk. I recall at least one incident in West Seattle many years ago of a house on Alki that was destroyed by a landslide, killing the occupant inside.  There was the incident a few years ago of a property owner near the Lincoln Park area (mentioned in one of the comments here) who cut all the hillside trees and then the hill gave way and slid onto the street below. Of course, when something like that happens, an owner usually tries to blame the city. This is not a “simple” situation, and I don’t quite understand peoples’ claims that the city should pursue other more “important” matters. This is not a let’s “cherry-pick” what’s the most important issues and ignore the rest as being too trivial. They all matter.

    • Oakley34 March 27, 2016 (11:40 am)

      Yeah!  Crimes committed by the poor matter!  Crimes committed by the rich, not so much!  Oh wait…

  • Zerodacus March 27, 2016 (10:38 am)

    This happened to our summer home on Vashon about thirty five years ago. The neighbors on the top of the hill had a local tree company come and cut all of the trees on three properties below them about halfway down to improve their view of the water. Their excuse to my father was they wanted to be good neighbors and were worried the trees would fall on the cabin. Of course they were so neighborly they never once had come down to introduce themselves. The tree company was told that the property owners had given their permission and were only too glad to identify who had hired them. After our insurance company went after them I believe it ended up costing them around $1000 per tree. I wonder if the city is checking local tree trimmers to see if this was done professionally.

  • sna March 27, 2016 (10:46 am)

    I certainly don’t condone this action, but I also have a lot of frustration with the parks department over their lack of maintenance on legally protected view corridors.   The viewpoints on Admiral and Hamilton Viewpoint have been allowed to degrade significantly over the years.    These views are protected by law, but the city does nothing to trim the non native trees that are blocking the views. 

  • they March 27, 2016 (11:54 am)

    no excuse for law breakers but J & M might be on to something…Years ago we had public land trees that were topped by an arborist every year. This was paid for by the local home owners. This action had two positive outcomes the trees were healthy to maintain a solid root system but not to tall to get blown over in heavy wind storms, and home views were optimized for locals who paid for the service. Than one day the city said stop. Since than after a years of growth some of the trees have fell victim to heavy winds and since blown over. sad sad sad

    • AMD March 27, 2016 (12:03 pm)

      In the time since “years ago” we’ve learned that the cons of tree topping (it damaged the tree and leaves it vulnerable to pests and decay) far outweigh the benefits.  Those trees that fell were damaged by topping before the wind got to them.

  • Wary Westsider March 27, 2016 (12:10 pm)

    This illegal clear cutting of a greenbelt is wrong but it should lead to an expedient way where property owners can legally  get permission to trim trees that are blocking their views.  Otherwise, the County should lower the assessed property tax value for those that are paying for a view but don’t reap the benefits because trees have grown and blocked it. 

     Yes, I said it, even people who are fortunate to live in nice neighborhoods deserve justice.   

     

    • chemist March 27, 2016 (12:50 pm)

      The properties uphill I glanced at have, under property detail, views of the seattle skyline rated as “average” rather than “good” or “excellent”.

    • AMD March 27, 2016 (1:01 pm)

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I learned pretty early in life that trees grow and when they grow, they block views of things.  I knew when I bought my house that a tree was blocking my view.  If I were looking at a house adjoining young trees I would know they would grow up to be big trees blocking my view (for better or worse).  

      Views are a luxury.  It’s awesome if you have a nice view, but I just can’t get behind advocating destruction of habitat and destabilization of hillsides to get one.

      If your property’s assessed value is based on a view that doesn’t exist, there is already a process for appealing the assessment.  

      • John March 27, 2016 (1:55 pm)

        AMD,

        If only it were so logical.  We bought our view home and later purchased a ‘view buffer lot’ adjacent to protect the views we enjoyed.  Now there is no such thing as a view buffer lot, because the city no longer allows us to maintain the the view corridor we are paying for.

        Anyone who says that it is simple to contest their claimed view by King County Assessor has not done it.   To appeal your property taxes, one must respond almost immediately when you receive your property evaluation notice from the county.   This is that innocent looking postcard sent mid-summer and not associated or included  with your tax billing statements.   There is no reason that the county allows only a short period of appeal before having to wait until next year unless they are intentionally restricting appeals.

        The City of Seattle and King County are essentially complicit, with Seattle passing more tree restrictions that reduce property values while sharing in the taxes the county continues to charge for those disappearing views.

    • Mike March 27, 2016 (7:20 pm)

      but it should lead to an expedient way where property owners can legally  get permission to trim trees that are blocking their views”  Bwahahahahaha, you thought you own air…that’s hilarious.  No, your views are not protected under any law and yes, if a developer puts a building in front of your home you lose.  You can buy all the land around it to prevent the view from being lost, but then you’d also need to get permitting to remove trees and reinforce that land to prevent landslides.  Don’t worry, it’s cheap, maybe a wee $2.5M to provide reinforcement of that area.

  • neighbor March 27, 2016 (1:21 pm)

    I live on the north side of Admiral on 37th. Our neighborhood had to develop a plan with the city to maintain our views. We all paid an approved arborist to do the work. the city arborist was more than understanding and committed to being fair to everyone, those whose views the trees affect and those who may not see the view through the trees but benefit from the stability, the clean air and the habitat trees provide. This was not an overly cumbersome process, nor was it an expense that couldn’t be afforded.

    it is beyond the pale that a group of homeowners thought they were entitled to to do this. They should all be fined. They should all suffer the consequences since they all benefited  from a crime they all watched happening. Our neighbors are sickened by this and expect not only fines but jail time for the ones who paid for this and those who did the work.

    • John March 27, 2016 (1:37 pm)

      Neighbbor

      The city does not recognize property owner view ‘rights’.  

      The process of the city arborist working with homeowners that  you describe is no longer available.

      If it were, property owners would have no reason to illegally cut trees for views.

      Since the property owners no longer have any option, they are resorting to illegal cutting.

      • sna March 27, 2016 (2:15 pm)

        You can’t even trim a 1/2″ branch on a tree in the right of way on font of your home anymore.   Need a permit and have to hire a professional.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 27, 2016 (5:59 pm)

      “They should all be fined”

      They should all be jailed.
  • willistheclown March 27, 2016 (1:41 pm)

    The first picture of the hill makes it look like a very low grade slope.  Like a bunny hill for skiing.

    The next photo of the damage(with the house in the background) makes it look like a 45 degree slope!

    Which is it?  I am all over fining these folks, but will the photographer please chime in and let us know if he/she was laying on the ground for the “uphill” shot?  Feels a bit “slanted” (pun intended) to me if so…….

    • WSB March 27, 2016 (1:56 pm)

      W – this is not just one slope. Please see the map and my description of the location.

  • Diane March 27, 2016 (2:10 pm)
    sna
    March 27, 2016 (10:46 am)

    “I certainly don’t condone this action, but I also have a lot of
    frustration with the parks department over their lack of maintenance on
    legally protected view corridors.   The
    viewpoints on Admiral and Hamilton Viewpoint have been allowed to
    degrade significantly over the years.    These views are protected by
    law, but the city does nothing to trim the non native trees that are
    blocking the views. “

    THIS is so true; when our new Parks Sup was introduced and doing town halls in WS, I requested this exact action; clean up and do healthy cut back of foliage at Admiral Viewpoint, which no longer has a view in Spring, and strangled by blackberry vines; not aware of any actions taken

  • TheKing March 27, 2016 (2:12 pm)

    aRF said earlier this could be the new Nicklesville, this one made me laugh at first….but it’s genius for the karma factor. 

  • John March 27, 2016 (2:17 pm)

    Willis,

    DPD has a very specific definition of what steep slope is.  Simplified it is any slope of 40% or more.   40% slope would be 40 feet vertical in 100 foot lot. But the rule defines  it as any 10 feet of vertical over 25 feet of footprint.  The city’s GIS Lidar Mapping of Steep Slopes is only a rough indicator of slopes,  is not accepted for building plans and any development in such areas is required to produce  a 3′ contour topographic survey with the critical slope  calculated by hand.

  • Samuella March 27, 2016 (2:57 pm)

    We made a small field trip to the scene of the assault today. Warning to all, its a bit heartbreaking and it is in fact worrisome given the disruption to the land’s stability.  Staring at a plot of land where so many trees were killed, and killed possibly just to improve one’s view, has a way of paralyzing your mind as you try to imagine what kind of person is apparently able to rationalize such actions.

    It takes a great deal of work to agree on the priorities of this beautiful city. And then it takes twice more the effort to then create, designate and/or preserve public green spaces. One of the best things we can do to preserve our greenbelts and spaces is to refrain from action and when taking action simply do so in the spirit of natural preservation.

    Plenty of people were coming and going where 35th meets City View Street. A word to other curious visitors; as a gesture of courtesy, really try to make an effort to avoid using people’s private driveways for turning around on the dead end street. Park further away and walk to the end, or,  do the rock forward, rock back, rock forward on the public street in order to turn your vehicle around. 

  • Jake March 27, 2016 (3:44 pm)

    People take over public land and despoil it for their own purposes. Hmmm… where have we seen this before? 

  • Neighbor March 27, 2016 (4:24 pm)

    @John-this was done less than two years ago. I really, really, doubt that the city arborist is not doing this. It would be inconsistent with the city’s mission of preserving our green spaces.  It would go against everything we were told as a community. 

    Do you have the actual code change your referring to?

    • John March 27, 2016 (5:33 pm)

      @ Neighbor,

      Seattle Muncipal Code  25.09.320 – Trees and vegetation.

      I would really like to hear who in the city you worked with?

  • pmc March 27, 2016 (6:24 pm)

     @ Diane -These views are protected by law, but the city does nothing to trim the non native trees that are blocking the views. “

    Good point. Have there been budget cut or reduction of crew in the Parks   Department over the last little bit?  
    If so it explains all the calls for volunteers in the green belt lately.
  • pmc March 27, 2016 (6:59 pm)

    What is good about this conversation is that it gives a picture of what other people actually think the green belt is and isn’t. Good forum for education.

  • Michelle March 27, 2016 (7:02 pm)

    Absolutely outrageous, not to mention illegal.  Fingers crossed the criminals are found and fined to the highest.  Selfish losers.  Hope karma comes their way.  What is the story with the tags on some of the trees?  Who put them there?  Anyone know?  

  • Stephen March 27, 2016 (7:10 pm)

    The trees are the view.  Who wants to look at a bunch of office building, anyways? I live on 16th Ave SW along the greenbelt and would never consider cutting the trees behind my backyard.

    • John March 27, 2016 (9:05 pm)

      Stephen,

      For your location on 16th, I agree,  the trees are the view because if the trees were cut you would have no improvement of view.

      16th does not offer views of the city, sound and mountains like the views referred to here. 

      • Alan March 28, 2016 (7:39 am)

        John – “16th does not offer views of the city, sound and mountains like the views referred to here. ” – Really?  I am guessing that you never venture to “that” side of West Seattle. Go to the Chinese Gardens at South Seattle College and look north. It is not the same view as the one the people on 35th now have, but it is a beautiful view of downtown. 

        I live next to the Duwamish Greenbelt on 14th. I would gain a very nice territorial view were I to cut the trees. Or are you saying that water has to be included in the view to justify it? I would never dream of cutting the trees. To help save you the drive, here is a photo from the blog of the view over here.


        • John March 28, 2016 (8:49 am)

          Alan,

          Nice tree-high shot of the Chinese Gardens and the distant territorial view taken from the top of the hillside.  I see no view possibility from ground level or from the structures which are lower than the photo.  The trees ‘rise’ as one drops lower.

          I am quite familiar with that greenbelt having biked and walked its trails all the way down to West Marginal Way.  Now you correct yourself from 16th ave down lower elevation to 14th ave and that little unknown neighborhood off of Puget Blvd.  I am familiar with that also.  

          I have a house on the eastern ridge of  Highland Park that has a nice territorial view from up higher.  But none of these views are classified by the free market (the home buyer), the city or the county as being prime view areas.

          • Alan March 28, 2016 (9:04 am)

            I still fail to see your point. Does the “high value” of the view justify the clearing of greenbelt?

            Yes, that view is high, but I have lived here for nearly 30 years. When the houses were built on 16th, just north of the campus, they all had sweeping views of downtown.  Because those buyers paid a premium for their houses for that view, should they be allowed to cut the trees in order to recover it?

          • Alan March 28, 2016 (9:20 am)

            Here is an image from an earlier listing from one of the houses in the 5200 block of 16th that “no view possibility from ground level or from the structures which are lower than the photo.”


          • Alan March 28, 2016 (9:41 am)

            If you check the view ratings on 3242 35th, they have Territorial – Good, Seattle Skyline – Average, and Cascades – Good. 

            1500 SW Brandon (just off 16th) has Territorial – Good, Seattle Skyline – Good, and Puget Sound – Fair.  

          • John March 28, 2016 (1:39 pm)

            Alan,

            Another nice photo.  Million dollar territorial seasonal view  of downtown buildings through the bare maple branches?

            Interestingly, your photo appears to show illegal limning of the only fir tree in the shot. 

          • Alan March 28, 2016 (2:12 pm)

            John, 

            I think the words you are looking for are “I was wrong and I am sorry”. You make it sound as if I am trying to mislead in some manner. I posted a picture that was taken by the WSB and you suggest it was shot from a treetop. I don’t think WSB has implemented drones. So I show you a picture taken from a home on 16th and you suggest that I am somehow exaggerating that view. I don’t argue that there are tree limbs that may or may not have been illegally done. Years ago I seem to recall quite a bit of questionable tree cutting being done. I also seem to recall an uproar about it. It seems to have been stopped.

            You also mentioned something about me correcting myself in a previous post, which made no sense, seemingly suggesting that I had been talking about 14th down in the White Heights neighborhood. I was not. I’m in Riverview with views of the Olympics and a nice territorial view of West Seattle, most of which has been taken away by trees now and I am OK with that.

            I thought that maybe you were just unaware of what the neighborhood offered, but clearly your problem is something beyond ignorance. I am done responding to you.

      • Stephen March 28, 2016 (3:37 pm)

        Gentlemen, interesting discussion. I agree that the downtown view from
        the north end of 35th Ave SW is superior to the view from 16th Ave SW. However,
        I can confirm that I do have quite a nice view of the entire downtown skyline and the Cascade
        range. But beyond that, my point is this – I would not sacrifice the trees
        immediately surrounding my home to improve my view of the downtown skyline, as
        the trees themselves add so much more in terms of beauty, nature and serenity.

        • Alan March 28, 2016 (4:25 pm)

          Stephen,

          Thanks for jumping back in. That was the point I was trying to make though it got sidetracked with the challenge on whether or not you would have the view you do. It seemed to center on the lack of value in the view in this part of West Seattle, which is an attack that usually comes from outside the neighborhood rather than from within it. In the end, it went full circle from “you don’t have a view to obtain” to “look, there are trees kind of in the way”.  I am still at a loss as to what his point was.

          Thanks for leaving the trees alone!

  • JayDee March 27, 2016 (7:21 pm)

    No views are protected, not mine, not the Hamilton view or the Olga/Admiral  views. If anyone can cite code go for it.

  • ELLY March 27, 2016 (7:25 pm)

    The City needs to find out who did this and actually punish them. Not turn a blind eye, but from my experience working with people at the City for my job, for the most part they are only aggressive about getting what they want, which is not justice  – environmental or otherwise. WE need to make them pursue this horrible violation. Those trees belong to all us of, you self-important POS!!  Your view is not worth the destruction of habitat. Not to mention the erosion that will follow, how stupid. WTF is wrong with people?? I hope we find out who your are and you have to replant each one by one. There better be a stiff penalty that you feel too. I hate to resort to name-calling but after living here my whole life and seeing the destruction of the PNW this is just unforgivable and you (whoever you are) are a total POS.  I am pretty must done living here, it’s no longer the place I grew up in any way. It used to be green here.

  • ELLY March 27, 2016 (7:28 pm)

    So, whose view was blocked? Seems like a good place to start…someone knows who did it. If you know, speak up. Even anonymously would be better than ignoring a criminal act.

  • canton March 27, 2016 (8:21 pm)

    @ elly, the king county parcel viewer will tell you what you want.

    • WSB March 27, 2016 (8:37 pm)

      For those trying only to call out “immediate neighbors” – go see the areas for yourself. You’ll see the views that would have been created by removal of these trees go beyond immediate neighbors, and also please note that, the immediate neighbors are NOT only on 35th (please carefully re-read our description of the area and see the city map embedded in our story). But if you’re assuming from the Times’ description or our description that suddenly the immediately adjacent residents have views as far as the eye can see, that’s not accurate either.

      Compounding the matter of trying to guess “suspects,” as we mentioned, there are homes under construction just a bit up the hillside, for example, and existing homes there too. Hard to know how tall the trees were and therefore how far up the “blocked views” go. But most importantly, anyone with something more than a guess – if you think, now that you’ve heard about this (and Councilmember Herbold confirmed, after her meeting with City Attorney Holmes, that they do believe it happened some weeks back), that you saw something or know something, contact the City Attorney’s Office. Tomorrow will be the first weekday since this first came to light via the Friday night Times story and we will be checking directly with them, as well as asking whether a police report was filed for this, and more. Perhaps they’ll have received some tips already. – TR

  • John March 27, 2016 (10:01 pm)


    And after visiting the sloping site, seeing the length of  downed trunks and knowing generally how tall multi-trunked maples grow, as well as view sightlines, I believe it will be one of the immediate neighbors.  

    In the past few years, I have been into two of the 35th ave houses shown in the photos.  

    Properties West and higher than 35th would not benefit.  The new construction is even further removed and a stretch to implicate.

  • fluffylongshanks March 27, 2016 (10:51 pm)

    Three houses nearby appear to have sold near the end of 2015, all advertising views. To see the skyline all the way up to the space needle would almost certainly require cutting in the affected area.

  • Taxes March 28, 2016 (12:48 am)

    I read most of the comments here, but no one mentioned how much these land owners pay for taxes. I looked and I presume the heavy tax is because of the view? Anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 a year. I also presume that the value of the homes from which the taxes are based is because of the view. To keep everyone happy, including the trees, why doesn’t the city maintain the trees from which they extort money from these residences. After all, if the view is of trees, then why are the taxes so high for these homes? An average joe as myself would be able to afford a home like those. A third of my salary would be on property tax, the other third on income tax. My $36K a year salary barely puts dinner on the table. To see these rich bastards cutting down trees so they can enjoy what they paid for I would be getting out the pitch forks and rally the people to get them too. I see no one mentioning the City extorting high taxes for these homes over valued homes…

    • datamuse March 28, 2016 (11:16 am)

      I looked and I presume the heavy tax is because of the view?

      .

      Why would you presume that?

  • Wsmm March 28, 2016 (1:05 am)

    This Redfin listing has a pretty good shot of the area, and what looks to be a partially built fence of the neighbor, from Nov 2015.  Personally, I’d rather have a view that includes those beautiful trees than a slightly better view of the city.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/3244-35th-Ave-SW-98126/home/328192

  • Kelly March 28, 2016 (7:31 am)

    It may be difficult to find those responsible, but I’m optimistic that the city will.  The guilty parties should receive the maximum penalty.  But also, why wait:  I love the suggestion to re-block the view with a billboard or banner that says “these trees were illegally cut”.     

  • jai March 28, 2016 (10:00 am)

    Now that the area is cleared, this would make a great spot for a new homeless encampment :).  

  • bolo March 28, 2016 (11:09 am)

    Just heard a short reporting of this on KUOW-FM. They stated that city attorney is on this case.

    • WSB March 28, 2016 (11:11 am)

      That’s in the story – from Saturday – he and CM Herbold were out at the site. I have followup questions out to them today. Thanks! TR

  • Scott March 28, 2016 (12:13 pm)

    Just rode by, I won’t lost the address but as of noon a home directly above this clear cut is currently taking down trees in their front yard off 36th… 

    Also, you can access the southern clear cut area near the road sign for 34th and city view, not 33rd as stated above. 

    • Holla March 28, 2016 (12:38 pm)

      Scott-

       I hope you report the persons taking the trees down (if its not on their property)……. 

  • whalewatcher March 28, 2016 (1:13 pm)

    I am an abutter. 

    Privacy gone. No difference in the view. Potentially destabilized hillside. No upside.

    (No, I don’t have a clue who did it).

  • RyRy March 28, 2016 (1:38 pm)

    Great view of the future EPA Super find clean up site now. 

  • truthteller March 28, 2016 (2:14 pm)

    There is a Honey Bucket at the North end of 35th, right where the clear cut took place. Couldn’t they find out who ordered the Honey Bucket and when? My friend and I recently walked all throughout those woods looking for stolen items from her car. We saw several trees tagged and the ground was staked. Was this the city’s work or the offender? Obviously whoever did it knows it’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist. 

    • WSB March 28, 2016 (2:42 pm)

      TT – the question about the tags is one of several questions I’m awaiting the City Attorney’s Office’s answer on. Please also keep in mind, this happened weeks ago – CM Herbold said she confirmed that with the city attorney while they were out there on Saturday; one commenter above has suggested it could even have been a couple months. As you know since you went for a firsthand look, this is not an area where this would have been visible (audible, though, you’d think) to anyone but those in the immediate vicinity.

  • Diane March 28, 2016 (2:25 pm)

    perhaps someone posted this already, but I don’t see it in story or comments; this is google street view of what the green belt looked like prior to all the trees cut down; pretty shocking difference

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/3244+35th+ave+sw,+seattle/@47.5742192,-122.3760802,3a,75y,16.99h,88.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2ExmhM7LFQDW9dkuRVvogQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x44c3a3d173804db9!6m1!1e1

  • Dr. SIS March 28, 2016 (6:35 pm)

    PLEASE come out to the 3200 block of 35th Ave SW, Seattle, to support our fellow citizens out there who are dedicated to ensuring that this travesty remains in the public view, and that the illegal cut is thoroughly examined. (Bring our fellow citizens a meal!)

     It is in our collective responsibility to ensure that a lawyer isn’t hired to allow the perpetrator(s) to claim “we didn’t know the law”, and to get away with paying a modest fine.

  • Bryan March 29, 2016 (9:02 am)

    Several people commented that they saw the cutting going on and assumed it was green space volunteers or was somehow legitimate. People, when you see tree cutting, ask questions! If it’s a green space, call the police.

  • some dude March 30, 2016 (7:55 pm)

    Sick behavior. Speaks for itself. Jail time encouraged.

  • Evelyn April 8, 2016 (12:08 pm)

    Please, put these people in jail, and then make them pay for the construction of the billboard which should stand right where it blocks the most view…

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