Police investigating unauthorized slope-slashing


We’re checking on the various components of this for a followup later today, but in the meantime, this is bigger than the More page roundup, so in case you haven’t heard – as reported (so far) in the P-I and on Q13 and at KING5.com, someone cleared a section of city-owned slope over the 1600 block of Harbor Avenue (area map), without authorization. Neighbors blame a homeowner trying to get a better view. Police are investigating, and the culprit could face criminal charges. ADDED 4:55 PM: Added the photo, which shows the general slope area where this happened (just below the hedge-ish plants at the bottom of the white draping); difficult to get a close-up shot of the stumps from where we tried. Just talked to the Southwest Precinct – no new developments in the investigation today; cases like this take a while to develop (everyone may think they know who did it, but you need evidence). A parks spokesperson tells WSB that once there is definite identification, they “will determine an appropriate fine for the perpetrator based on the economic value of the trees and damage to the area.” Still waiting for word on how, and how soon, the city might restore the damaged area – since there are certainly erosion and slide concerns on a slope like that. ADDED 10:15 PM: Did manage to get a closer view of the apparent slash zone earlier this evening:


15 Replies to "Police investigating unauthorized slope-slashing"

  • Jim Reppond March 20, 2008 (1:43 pm)

    This happened last summer a couple of times in Bellevue:


    I believe they were prosecuted by King County, not the city. And the fines were pretty substantial, in the $200K range.

    Hope they catch these selfish cowboys!

  • c March 20, 2008 (2:22 pm)

    Just look up the hill and see who has a nice view.

  • Iridius March 20, 2008 (2:26 pm)

    I am wondering if a (kind of) similar situation is cause for calling the police.

    The house just a block away from us was torn down leaving an empty parking lot next to the bus stop. Suddenly cars starting parking there frequently and because it’s on the corner of a street, people constantly bypassed the intersection and cut through the parking lot, over the sidewalk, nearly hitting people at the bus stop several times.

    That was the first concern. Then someone literally plopped down a small building on the land. It’s the type commonly used for low end car dealerships along Aurora Ave, no basement, just a shack really with a small porch, waiting to be attached to the electric lines.

    I found this very odd and reported it to Seattle’s DPD and they eventually put up a stop work sticker on the building with contact information and a business card from DPD.

    I’m wondering now if I should also report it to the police, or is it a matter to be handled solely by the DPD?

  • JJ March 20, 2008 (2:38 pm)

    You can’t cut trees over 6 inches in diameter in ECA (Environmentally Critical Areas) even on your own property, much less the city’s. I’m sure he’ll get a huge fine. But much less than the driver who ran over the guy in the crosswalk and killed him.

  • JJ March 20, 2008 (2:55 pm)

    Correction on that last sentence: Much *more* than the driver who ran over the guy in the crosswalk and killed him.

  • David March 20, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    I hope these f’ers get a nice $250K fine and public embarrassment. How dare they cut down trees in a city owned greenzone/park/whatever just because THEY didn’t like them or it blocked their view. JERKS. It’s not their land…it’s their fault for buying a house BEHIND some city owned land that blocked their view.

    Whoever owns the house behind these idiots should go over in the middle of the night and start to tear off their roof claiming it’s blocking their view.

  • Todd in Westwood/S.Delridge March 20, 2008 (4:16 pm)

    I think his punishment should be to board up all the windows that face the view he now has, until the trees grow back.

  • Aidan Hadley March 20, 2008 (6:38 pm)

    This guy has bigger problems than the trees he cut down. No one seems to have told him that his house is wrapped in a giant diaper.

  • WSB March 20, 2008 (6:42 pm)

    To clarify – I don’t know that the wrapped house is the house allegedly involved. That’s why it’s a wide shot. I tried driving around some of the hilly streets over Harbor this afternoon to look for the other side of that block and somehow managed to keep taking the wrong turn.

  • MacJ March 20, 2008 (6:45 pm)

    Tar and feathers. Works every time.

  • KatherineL March 21, 2008 (7:06 am)

    If his house slides down the hill the next rainy season, maybe he’ll consider that punishment. Doesn’t he understand that the trees are doing more than just blocking his view? How can people be so stupid? Too bad it may take other houses, too, once it gets to sliding.

  • T Prescott March 21, 2008 (8:44 am)

    My question is why didn’t someone call someone while he was doing the work instead of afterwards?

    I live on what is considered a slide area and I don’t care what blocks by view if it is keeping my house from sliding down to Lincoln Park, it may get topped but it will not be cut down!

  • Maple skeptic March 21, 2008 (9:13 am)

    Nobody likes the trespass and vandalism that has occurred here and that issue has been well and truly hammered. Now let’s think beyond this crime to the broader issue of greenbelt management. The city should offer options to those who live next to greenbelts. These thickets of maples are not particularly attractive trees, especially in winter(IMHO), and I’m not convinced they are optimum for stabilizing a slide zone. Though the roots help, consider the huge weight of a towering maple tree resting on a slippery slope. Consider further what happens in a windstorm. Those wonderful roots can be yanked out, increasing risk of slides. I wouldn’t be crazy about living below a slope covered with those things. Why can’t the city allow neighboring homeowners to replant those greenbelt areas with native species of plants that support wildlife, add beauty and year round foliage, provide dense and varied root systems, and don’t add so much weight or windfall risk to slide areas. I’m no expert, but how about vine maple, rhododendron, salal, Oregon grape, dogwood, huckleberry etc.? The city could get a lot of these areas replanted with a wider variety of plants at no cost to the public treasury. Further, valuable views could be protected allowing those homeowners to keep paying astronomical property taxes. That would reduce my burden, so I have an interest in that.

  • Mike Dady March 21, 2008 (10:07 am)

    T Prescott – The topping of any tree is not advisable: http://www.plantamnesty.org/stoptopping/5reasonstostoptopping.htm

  • DK March 22, 2008 (7:58 am)

    Good grief people!!! Calm down!!! Don’t get your panties in a bunch!!! They were just trees for pete’s sakes…yeah, it may be wrong, and even a crime to cut them down, but to vilify the homeowner just above the trees without proof is ridiculous!! It’s a property crime…nothing more, nothing less. I’m sure once the parks dept or law enforcement find out who did it, if ever…they will take care business and charge the person responsible. But in all honesty…as a tax paying citizen…I’m really hoping that my tax money is being spent on more important things because I’m sure the parks dept and law enforcement have bigger fish to fry…and I want my tax money used for that…for the bigger fish fry.

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