If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with the investigation of the illegal Duwamish Head Greenbelt tree-cutting in East Admiral – City Councilmember Lisa Herbold confirms it’s continuing, and that criminal and civil action are both possible. From an update she published today:
… The Seattle Police Department is continuing its investigation to determine if there is probable cause for criminal prosecution and will prepare a case to submit to the King County Prosecutor. The King County Prosecutor has jurisdiction over criminal felony prosecutions. The Police Department has conducted interviews and distributed flyers in the adjacent neighborhood for any information or leads. Last month, the Parks Department removed blackberry bushes for evidence of any previous cutting beyond the recent example, but didn’t find any additional tree cutting.
Separately from this effort to prepare a potential criminal violation, the City Attorney’s Office is also working to pursue potential civil action. It is likely that the office will issue one or more demand letters in the next few months, asking potentially responsible parties to pay the City damages and fines. If the King County Prosecutor declines to prosecute, the City Attorney’s Office may – at that time – decide to pursue a criminal action. Responsible parties may (1) be required to pay the City damages, civil fines and penalties, including restoration work, and also (2) face criminal penalties. It appears that the City has between 18 and 30 months during which to timely file a court case.
The City Attorney’s Office and Seattle Police Department are reluctant to publicly disclose additional information or additional specifics on their timeline as they believe that doing so could limit the effectiveness of the investigation and any prosecution or civil actions. …
Herbold’s update continues with details of the laws that could apply, and potential penalties – read it in its entirety here.