FOLLOWUP: Parks’ work at East Admiral tree-cutting site

(WSB photo)

If you were among the Admiral-area residents who noticed helicopters overhead at midday … no crime, no crash, just TV crews looking for an aerial view of what you see above: As reported here Tuesday, Seattle Parks sent this piece of heavy equipment called a Spyder to the slopes where news of illegal tree-cutting sparked an outcry back in March. As we first heard from City Councilmember Lisa Herbold on Tuesday, Parks decided to send the crew to clear away blackberry overgrowth and look for any further evidence of trees cut beyond the 100+ already estimated, while helping prep the site for “eventual restoration.” Otherwise, the city says the investigation continues; no charges so far. The work is expected to continue tomorrow.

20 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Parks' work at East Admiral tree-cutting site"

  • colleen May 4, 2016 (2:24 pm)

    I am so pleased progress on this case and the press taking such an active interest. 

  • kittyno May 4, 2016 (2:59 pm)

    “eventual restoration” sounds glacial. By that time the property that benefits from felled trees could have changed hands. If they want to put an end to this particular type of crime then speed and a big ugly billboard would be the best deterrent.

  • lookingforlogic May 4, 2016 (3:43 pm)

    REassess property tax values for everyone that benefited.  This will ensure that future activity is reported by neighbors that thought “the city parks fairy” was there to rescue their view.  Although the billboard is also a good idea.  

  • Sad_Fir_The_Trees May 4, 2016 (4:25 pm)

    I always wondered if the blackberry bushes were helpful for protecting hillside of erosion or not. I understand in this case they want to clear them to uncover evidence of more cut trees. However, I’m reminded of when they cleared all the blackberry bushes from the northern slope of Hamilton Viewpoint. Ever since, the road has been getting washed out with pot holes emerging weekly. But I digress. 

    Sure hope there is a punishment for these homeowners reckless and illegal behavior.

    • Alan May 4, 2016 (9:18 pm)

      Blackberries are invasive and would be actively removed in a reforestation effort. They seem to keep most anything else from growing.

  • anonyme May 4, 2016 (4:59 pm)

    Haven’t yet heard a word about how these homeowners will be punished for the FELONY they committed in cutting these trees.  Instead, we have the diversion of some blackberry removal at the site.   IMO, the City is waiting for the furor to die down so that they can eschew fines and/or punishment for these (and other) crimes while maintaining the Seattle tradition of non-enforcement and slaps on the wrist for egregious violations.

  • Enviromaven May 4, 2016 (5:25 pm)

    I’ve got to agree with anonyme.  Blackberries grow very fast this time of year, but I question this “explanation.”

  • S May 4, 2016 (5:49 pm)

    Do the police know the names of the offenders yet, or are they communicating anonymously through their lawyer(s)?

  • AIDM May 4, 2016 (6:13 pm)

    If you physically visit the site, its pretty obvious who at least some of the perpetrators are. While this is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, it certainly gives the police and the city some solid leads for subpoenas of credit card and bank records which could show either payment to a cutting service or the purchase of chain saws.

  • Michelle May 4, 2016 (6:43 pm)

    Yes, agreed. Complete diversion.  No fines.  Reported still investigating who the criminals are.  Why is it taking so long.  It’s been two months since the story broke, right?  And the City new about it much earlier than that.  Ridiculous.  In the meantime, as they know it will, the outcry has died down.  People have moved on.    

  • plant geek May 4, 2016 (7:26 pm)

    Because blackberry roots so shallow in the soil, the presence of thickets on a hillside actually worsen erosion issues, because it forms a monoculture where plants and trees that would anchor in the soil cannot exist.  

  • ScubaFrog May 4, 2016 (7:44 pm)

    Misdemeanors if we’re lucky.  With some light fines perhaps, maybe a little probation.  People like that (upper middle class) never end up with felony convictions.  It would appear that prosecutors reserve felonies/jail time for the ‘lower middle class’, and the downtrodden.

    The notion of “justice” in this country is interesting.

  • hlauer4 May 4, 2016 (8:52 pm)

    I so agree with anonyme. The city will likely cool down, take the offer of the homeowners to pay for replanting some trees, and everyone will go on their way. Sad

    I know all too well what a view means to people. My last house in the Belvidere neighborhood had a great view, and my neighbors behind me continually requested I chop down my willow trees to improve their view. I finally removed 1 tree when we were doing an addition on the house (it needed to come down) and I had 5 other neighbors come running up threatening me with lawsuits and violence because I removed one tree on my own property (and I am a muscular guy)… I was shocked. 

    So while I know this community leans more towards a tree hugging crowd, I totally agree that this was a blatant criminal act that should be punished! …What say you Murray. Oh wait, this isn’t capital hill.

  • KT May 5, 2016 (7:40 am)

    Didn’t the first (ignored) report come into the city in January or February?  Now it is May.  No resolution – “under investigation”.  Four or five months later.  Impressive.    

  • ;( May 5, 2016 (7:43 am)

    Billboards great idea   Need it sooner than later!!!   

    And what was it  on the news saying the tax payer are paying $4000.00 for the clearing???  

    Everthing should be on the home owners.  

  • ;( May 5, 2016 (7:46 am)

    Everything should be on the home owners.  

  • PW May 5, 2016 (9:21 am)

    Where was this machine when volunteers were clearing blackberry bushes at Riverview park BY HAND?!?!?!

    • John May 5, 2016 (10:11 am)

      Blackberry bushes still need to be removed by hand.  The root ball stores enough energy for regrowth, several times.

      The machine simply acts like a lawn mower cutting off the stem.  The same goes for goats.  

      I am aware of no easy solution to blackberry eradication on Steep Slopes where herbicides are banned (at least for use by property owners) by Seattle.

      Within a week, new stocks will sprout and the blackberry thicket will regenerate. 

      The same goes for the other invasives found at this site such as scotchbroom, ivy and holly.  They will all be back unless the city takes responsibility, as it should.

      Ironically, if the city does nothing, even those stumps of butchered trees will each be sprouting multiple shoots.  

      The results will be the complete “restoration” of the hillside with an dense understory thicket of invasives  covered by unhealthy short lived multi trunk monoculture of big leaf maples that returns an even thicker and denser “wall” than before.

      Seattle needs to invest in maintaining it owned properties which are in absolutely deplorable condition.

      With such an extreme backlog, us relying on a consortium of well intended volunteers is just not doing the job.  Our urban green deferred maintenance backlog continues to grow and our urban forest become less healthy.

      We need actual policies and coordination between Seattle Departments.  We need oversight of the alarming manner Seattle’s properties are managed.

  • anonyme May 5, 2016 (9:49 am)

    Not directly related, but I wonder how many of you heard the announcement a few days ago that fines against ‘Ride the Duck’ have been cut in HALF.  This, after a finding of 462 violations, more than 150 of which posed serious safety hazards, and after a preventable accident that killed five people….?!!  WTF?  If fines against lawbreakers in this town – including polluters and tree cutters – were actually fair and actually collected, maybe we wouldn’t have to continually raise property taxes to such unreasonable levels.  I wish some investigative reporter would take an in depth look at why such crimes are officially hushed up, violators rarely punished at any level, and who benefits.

  • John May 5, 2016 (10:29 am)

    Calls to our local council member, other public officials and massive press coverage of this will prove all of you naysayers wrong.

    Just the renewed publicity of cutting blackberries has warranted live aerials on tv and media circus.

    The event is a perfect avenue to rile up people to openly express class/ wealth anger issues, entitlement of those better off, distrust of government, lawyer hate, and dictates of taste  (The Trees are the View).


    This will not quietly go away.  

    Cass Turnbull was wrong.  

    Someone will be held accountable.

    The System has been exposed, embarrassed and finally prodded into action.  

    The System acts slowly…

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