Goats to clear slopes along SW Holden stairway, says SDOT

(January 29th photo of Delridge/Holden stairway, after student was robbed)
Back in February, Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Erin Nicholson told the Highland Park Action Committee that the city might bring in goats to clear vegetation along local stairways and make them safer, in the wake of crimes targeting students using them. Now, we have confirmation: SDOT is bringing goats to clear the slopes alongside the SW Holden stairway between Delridge and 20th. Here’s the flyer the city has distributed to nearby residents:

This will be the first time SDOT has used goats in West Seattle, according to SDOT’s David Allen, who says they are from Rent-A-Ruminant.

P.S. While it’s a first for SDOT, it’s certainly not a first for WS; last decade, it was almost common – oldest goat photos in WSB archives are from 2007: Marine View Drive, Admiral, Gatewood

32 Replies to "Goats to clear slopes along SW Holden stairway, says SDOT"

  • Keith April 3, 2015 (9:21 pm)

    That is a block from my house. Most of the vegetation on that slope is Japanese knotweed. It is going to take more than goats to control it. Unless the roots are dug up or plant killer is applied to the individual stems, it is just going to grow back. This seems like a waste of money and a short-term fix.

  • ChefJoe April 3, 2015 (9:39 pm)

    For all the hubbub about dog poop in various parks and playfields, I’m still amazed that these rent-a-herds don’t generate a similar concern. They’re not wearing diapers afterall.


  • themightyrabbit April 3, 2015 (9:53 pm)

    Goats? I thought we were past April Fools day. Will there be a petting zoo for the younger goats?

  • A biologist neighbor April 3, 2015 (10:16 pm)

    Regarding dog vs goat poop: Dogs eat meat (or mostly meat based food) so their wastes are full of nasty bacteria. Goats are vegetarians so their wastes are not full of nasty bacteria–goat manure (like cow, horse, and rabbit manure) makes excellent fertilizer! Thus there really isn’t anything to worry about regarding the goats pooping while munching on weeds.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the weeds to regrow–depends a lot on follow up mulching planting and maintenance!

    I will definitely be taking my kids to see the goats! What a treat!!

  • K'lo April 3, 2015 (10:39 pm)

    yay! rent-a-ruminant is a great organization that uses rescued animals to do a much needed job in our city and along our highways to keep invasive plants under control. if memory serves, they were used at Sealth International HS during their remodel. as for the ‘waste’ generated by the goats, it’s a healthy beneficial fertilizer.

  • ChefJoe April 3, 2015 (10:52 pm)

    ? I’m 100% certain that all dog and goat poop contains bacteria and seriously doubt either has a more “nasty” bacteria load than the other. Cite your source.

  • junoimelda April 3, 2015 (10:55 pm)

    First off, I don’t imagine it’s meant to be a permanent fix. They mow Highland Park Way all the time, with the understanding that it eventually grows back. Secondly – it would seem that the goats will be on the sides of the stairway, ideally not pooping right *on* the stairway where people will be walking.

    The whole Rent-A-Goat concept is so cool! Environmentally friendly, useful, and ADORABLE.

  • Elise April 3, 2015 (11:15 pm)

    Simmer down Chef Joe! Good lord – it’s just a post about goats!

  • alki resident April 3, 2015 (11:25 pm)

    I hope there will be no escape goats this time.

  • craig April 4, 2015 (12:34 am)

    I’d like to know if there is a plan to manage vegetation on this stairway beyond goat tactics. It’s a cute idea(hope I can walk my kids by the site to see the goats) but as Keith stated only a short term solution.

    This is a huge stairway with lots of potential for appropriate landscaping that would maintain sight-lines and make walking the site more enjoyable. Is SDOT willing to invest in improving this resource?

  • ChefJoe April 4, 2015 (1:03 am)

    Elise, I worked many years to earn a PhD in a hard science. I appreciate that the goats are a trade-off to work crews and broad spectrum herbicides, but have a short fuse for unscientific tripe about meat eaters having bad bacteria that vegetarians don’t.

    Seattle Municipal Code requires they not allow the animals to deposit feces (which could contaminate streams, etc).
    9.25.082 – Offenses relating to safety and sanitation.

    It is unlawful for an owner to:

    Allow the accumulation of animal feces in any open area, run, cage or yard wherein animals are kept and to fail to remove or dispose of feces at least once every twenty-four (24) hours;

    Fail to remove the fecal matter deposited by his/her animal on public property or private property of another before the owner leaves the immediate area where the fecal matter was deposited;

  • Jonagolle April 4, 2015 (6:16 am)

    Fun! …and as per typical, all the haters are out in force on the WSB comments!

  • sc April 4, 2015 (6:51 am)

    I like the idea of using goats. No loud weed whacker sounds, just peaceful munching :)

  • K'lo April 4, 2015 (8:04 am)

    if anyone is interested in having goats come clear their backyard or hillside of pesky blackberries/ivy and whatnot, you can give rent-a-ruminant a call and Ms. Dunikin can hook you up with folks that have smaller herds to rent out.

  • unknown April 4, 2015 (8:39 am)

    I for one think the goats are a great idea, someone has to do the job of keeping this vegetation in control…I’m not positive but I think the CITY planted that vegetation and then as usual never kept it up after planting and so it has now gotten out of control…YES I know the CITY has no money…but REALLY???



  • heather April 4, 2015 (8:44 am)

    I kinda love this.

  • WS Family April 4, 2015 (9:17 am)

    Goats successfully clear vegetation in many urban locations. Regarding bacteria, I would be more concerned for the goats’ health, especially in this location. Hope the goat herd folks check first for used needles, condoms and other dangerous items!

  • zookeeper April 4, 2015 (9:25 am)

    All this complaining over a couple of goats? Typical Seattle…

  • Jake April 4, 2015 (9:53 am)

    We’ve seen these goats from Rent-a-Ruminant at work before, on a stairway below Pike Place Market. They do great work, but a more permanent solution requires that the city devote actual funds to maintaining Seattle’s 650+ stairway network. A significant slice of stairway funding – around 40% – goes away this year as Bridging the Gap expires. The proposed replacement Transportation Levy fails to mention funds for stairways. PLEASE HELP by speaking up on the city’s brief citizen survey, at http://www.moveseattlesurvey.com! At one point the survey asks you what else should be considered in the levy. You can write in “Add specific funding to keep our stairways safe and usable.”

  • lori April 4, 2015 (10:02 am)

    Maybe this is step one to a more permanent solution. I hope the coyotes don’t find them.

  • AMD April 4, 2015 (10:39 am)

    My favorite part is “How: WITH GOATS” (It’s funnier if you read it in your movie-trailer voice).

  • West Seattle Hipster April 4, 2015 (10:57 am)

    Darn. When I saw the fences, I had hoped that SDOT had finally got the bright idea to pave that section of Holden down to Delridge.


    As far as the goats go, how TOTALLY Seattle.

  • Bring back the goat feeder April 4, 2015 (2:02 pm)

    Bring back the Jacobson Road. Goats!!!! We love visiting and feeding them :) is there a portion to reinstate the feeder for visitors?

  • Tammy April 4, 2015 (9:35 pm)

    The goats sterilize the weed seed in their digestive process therefore decreasing the seed bank in the soil. They are fenced in so no coyotes or dogs can.get to them .I live on site and will be staged at the top of the stairs in my trailer. I will have my 2 herding dogs with me. The goaties do not eat needles or tin cans for that matter and they do not catch human diseases. Please do not feed them Anything!! I will place sign on the fence with my phone number on it if you notice any problems you can call me. This is not a one time process. Unless the vegetation is managed it will grow back in time. Thanks and ENJOY these little characters while they visit your community

  • MsD April 5, 2015 (1:22 am)

    Tammy – ignore all the West Seattle whining. I’m sure most of us welcome the goats. Just be glad you’re not opening a restaurant here…

  • miws April 5, 2015 (7:36 am)

    Thank you, Tammy, for sharing the facts about the goats.



  • unknown April 5, 2015 (7:46 am)

    LOL!!!! MsD you are so correct! And yes Tammy I too am glad there are people like you to take care of our overgrown public use areas.

  • Timothy Stone April 5, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    At least goat poop can be used as fertilizer, to keep the plants growing, thus insuring they will still have a job in a few month.

  • Lia April 7, 2015 (12:25 pm)

    “Cite your source”! LOL

  • greener April 9, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    City Light has been using goats to clear land for many years. My oldest went to see them when he was in elementary school and he’s fixin’ to graduate here pretty soon.


    • WSB April 9, 2015 (8:28 pm)

      Thanks – we weren’t suggesting that this was the first use of goats here – but the first time SDOT booked them for West Seattle work, and the first time they’ve been on something so visible around here in a long time (in an earlier comment thread, I mentioned several projects we’d reported on in 2007, 2008), therefore the coverage. – TR

  • greener April 9, 2015 (8:41 pm)

    The City Light goats was up north when we lived in Maple Leaf. I’ve never seen them here in West Seattle before.

Sorry, comment time is over.