FOLLOWUP: Homeowner responsible for damaging Indian Trail arrested

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The homeowner responsible for damaging the “Sunset” portion of the Indian Trail in Burien’s Three Tree Point neighborhood was arrested Tuesday morning (July 16), and all work at his home has been stopped.

Excavated dirt was being piled so high on the trail that it was covering up utility boxes, damaging vegetation, and soil was falling down the hill towards other homes. All this was apparently done without the proper permits.

This all started when resident Terry Haigh wrote a Letter to the Editor to the blog about this issue; as we previously posted, Haigh asked in his letter:

“…why would the City of Burien give a permit to a land owner so the she or he can expand the property line further out and alter the Indian Trail? Not only that but as you can see by the pictures there has to be almost 5 to 8 yards of fresh dirt brought in. The natural balance of vegetation that holds the hillside together has been destroyed under this large amount of dirt and there appears to be no effort to replant the area. When the winter season comes it will be a large muddy mess and could spell potential hillside collapse endangering the people below and the integrity of the land owners houses above.”

Here are some photos Haigh provided showing the damage the excavation had caused:






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17 Responses to “FOLLOWUP: Homeowner responsible for damaging Indian Trail arrested”
  1. M-on-a-bike says:

    It’s actually on the “Sunrise” part of the trail, steep and high above SW 172nd St.

  2. Frances says:

    Why contacting the blog to complane about the city, before checking with the city?

  3. Tom says:

    Enforcement action for violations of the Indian trail have been sadly lacking for many years. Thank you Ms Haigh and City of Burien.

    The city should document and correct illegal changes for the entire trail.

  4. Karl says:

    Seriously? Arested for a grading permit violation? There must be more to the story…

    • Cindy says:

      Dear Karl,

      You are correct about his arrest. There were three other charges he was arrested for and not the hill issue. I am very concerned however about the hill situation as I live on the street below and he is causing a very dangerous situation on this unstable hill. I wish all of the people who walk the Sunrise trail would have turned him in sooner so it might have been stopped before it reached this level! We all need to be aware of potentially problematic issues in our community.

  5. Terry Haigh says:

    Dear Frances,
    I did contact the City of Burien utilizing the on-line form they provided on their website this weekend. Unfortunately they have not replied in any way to me as of this morning. Since this article has appeared I have been informed by others that the City of Burien and the Code Compliance Officer has known about this issue since January.

    • Ginger says:

      You go Terry Haigh….nothing happens with the City of Burien until it hits the news!! If more people sounded off about these issues, we might actually see some action!!

    • Suzanne says:


      I contacted the City of Burien this past Wednesday after seeing pictures posted on the Burien blog. I spoke with Liz in the City Planning office and am waiting to hear back on the City’s remediation plan.

      My husband and I live directly below the dumping violator. The first time we heard of this was last Sunday 7/14/13 from one of our neighbors. We were shown pictures taken above but due to the size of the camera screen didn’t realize the significance of the destruction to the hillside. Unfortunately, we are unable to see the back of our lot from the house or the street as the brush and trees still in existence obstruct our view of the damage. Additionally, there is no access up the hill from the house. Since purchasing the house back in August 2012, I have only seen the top of the property once and everything was intact.

      After seeing the pictures on the blog, I was truly floored how someone could have a complete disregard for the environment, safety of people who live below, and complete disregard for property rights. My husband and I attended the City Council forum this past Tuesday and will be attending next week’s forum. I’d love to hear how the City Council candidates would handle this and similar situations.

      • Suzanne says:

        Update – I just received an update from the Liz at the City of Burien. The City has truly stepped up and has stated they would include the damage to our property as part of overall clean up plan required from the dumping violator.

        During the City Council candidate meeting this past week they talked about recognizing City employees. Let me say this, THANK YOU LIZ! The City is lucky to have people like you. It’s people like you that make me believe Burien is cable of growth and truly thriving. Environment, safety, and property rights…way to get it done! City Council candidates take note.

        • Cindy says:

          Yes, we thank you Liz for getting a plan in motion to remove the dirt and replace vegetation. I really hope this is pushed to be completed before the rains return!
          I hope the City of Burien keeps tabs on other problems in those ever sliding hills so we can all stay safe! Thank you Suzanne for all your hard work as well .

          • Ty says:

            It sounds like there may be some wrinkles coming up based on a discussion my wife had with the city ROW Inspector. The remediation of the issue with the hill will be discussed in a meeting tomorrow we had scheduled previously to discuss our fence issue. We are talking about a situation on a critical slope that presents a public safety hazard so assumedly the city will fast track resolution as a priority. It also involves the burial and shifting of a historic public trail that needs to be restored to the prior state. We will let you know more after the meeting this Thursday afternoon..

            • Ty says:

              I feel silly commenting on my own comment, but wanted to give a brief update. The other issue took most of the meeting but in the time we had it was clear the city understands the importance of quick remediation before the rain season. Their next step is to assess what needs to be done to restore the trail and guard against erosion/slides. Hopefully we’ll get the details of the plan soon.

  6. John says:

    Don’t put dirt on the hill bro!

  7. dan says:

    I was told the city of burien had inspected the site 6 weeks ago and provided information to a neighbor that there was no code violations, I don’t know what work was done after that point,

  8. Kevin says:

    The hillside had always been steep and sandy . As kids we called it the sand pits and could run down from the indian trail to the water in a minute . what fun ! The land owners have allowed all the non-native weeds like scotchbroom and blackberry to thrive .We would run across the street ( 172nd) and jump in the water . There are several public access spots along the road and one being directly below those pits .The spots are where the telephone poles are . The land owners have blocked the public from accessing the water from the road and using public property for their own gain. P.S. Don’t walk on their beach . You’ll be arrested for tresspassing .

    • Cindy says:


      The police would never waste their time in arresting a person for walking on or enjoying the beach. However, if there has been a decade of harassment from an individual and a group of neighbors were forced to get a orders of protection and anti harassment orders, issued through the superior courts, and that individual decides to violate the court order…yes then they are arrested. We have a wonderful community down here with great neighbors but there is always one bad apple in every barrel. It is fairly simple!

  9. Carol says:

    I am a land owner on SW 172nd. There are no public access points along the road. There is a public access where SW 172nd St. turns into Maplewild. The land owners have not blocked public access on public land. Every house on this street has a title that says the owner owns the property to extreme low tide – and we pay plenty of taxes on it too. Nobody is going to be arrested for walking on the beach! Nobody on this street is that big of a jerk. We don’t mind if people walk on the beach as long as they don’t litter and they stay off of the property across the road (unless they have received permission to use it). We do get upset when people park on our property, spit on our cars, leave their litter (including drug stuff) all over the place, have a picnic on our tables as if it were a public park, and create a nuisance with their loud music and partying in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know of anyone who would like strangers hanging out in their front yard destroying things and leaving a big mess.

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