3:34 PM: Almost 10 months after the city announced its first settlement in the infamous West Seattle illegal tree-cutting case, another has just been announced. From the city news release:
The City has settled the second of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.
The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope near the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleged that two separate groups of people were responsible for cutting two distinct areas of City trees. Between the two cuttings, 153 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area. The first suit settled in 2017 for $440,000. In the second suit the City sought damages from Kostas Kyrimis, Linda Kyrimis, Nancy Despain, Wendy Sweigart, Leroy Bernard, Joyce Bernard, Charles King, Shirley King and Bruce Gross. The defendants have agreed to pay the City a total of $360,000 to resolve the matter.
Parks remediation of the area is already under way, and Parks plans to use the settlement funds to continue its work restoring the site and other greenbelt areas in the City.
Read the full news release here; our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is quoted as saying, “I expect these clear consequences will make someone think twice before considering arboricide in the future.” You can also read the settlement document here; we’re reading it now and will add any details of note that the city announcement didn’t include.
4:05 PM: A few other notes:
-Before the settlement, the case had been scheduled to go to trial this May.
-City-led restoration work continues at the sites where the trees were cut; volunteers helped out on Green Seattle Day last November.
-If you are new, or need a refresher on where this happened, our March 2016 story included a map.