By Jack Mayne

City Public Works Director Maiya Andrews updated the Burien City Council Monday night (Feb. 1, 2021) on a Seahurst landslide which started about seven years ago, and now is beginning to undermine the sidewalk. Andrews said Seattle public utilities have a “sewer facility” and a “water facility” in the slide area.

“We had requested that SPU (Seattle Public Utilities) either take the lead or a good financial portion of the construction of the project.” She told Council “that never happened, we went back and forth with them for several months.”

Fix retaining wall
The Seattle utilities have their own geologists who decided the slide was not an immediate hazard, but Andrews said the slide “does need to be fixed in order to maintain access to the park.” Andrews said the city is continuing to look at “some more natural options” but likely the cheapest fix will be a retaining wall using filter tiles.

She said she has asked Seattle utilities to check the slide again but has not heard from them “and hopefully we’ll hear from them in the next few weeks.”

“Right now, it’s open, we shifted the sidewalk traffic into the street a little bit, we are going to try to fix that up a little more,” Andrews said.

Andrews said she hopes to further inform the Council soon.

Private storm drains
She mentioned another issue – that of two homes “that we are aware of in the general vacuity of South 124th and 12th Avenue South – that have flooded in the last couple of seasons,” Andrews told Council. Storm drains in the area are “primarily a private system on private property and it has historically existed at that location. The system is private and is to be maintained in that way.”

Councilmember Nancy Tosta asked how much of the drainage system is privately owned and Andrews said, “actually quite a bit,” and the city is evaluating “probably a half dozen flooding events.” She said three or four of those events —maybe even more were related from water flowing through the center of a block or are on private property that we don’t have rights to.” She added that “that’s not unusual” because the way areas that were once rural are now part of cities.

Once unincorporated, now thriving
Such events have cropped up in what were formerly unincorporated areas that are now thriving portions of expanding metropolitans.

“It’s how things developed sometimes,” and neighbors “are not forced to maintain those sort of things” and Andrews said this one is sort of “harder than some” and has a lot of complexities.” Sometimes septic and sewer systems are also involved, she said.

Councilmember Nancy Tosta said the city would be keeping track of such anomalies and get people to work together on these problem. Government “Is not going to be able to pay for all of this sort of thing.

Councilmember Cydney Moore asks if the city could assist with some of these problem.

“I’d be careful…” said Andrews.

City Attorney Garmon Newsom II said to be wary of getting involved in relationships with private property owners’ issues.

“It’s not maybe practical to expect for (city) staff to now, in additional to its actual work, starting to manage the relationships between individuals” and he added that frequently residents “don’t want to hear from us. They just want to do what they want to do.”

He suggested the residents don’t want to hear from city staff, and that more likely suggestions should come from councilmembers. There have been threats “that no one is coming to my property, or else.”

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Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 1

Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 2

Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 3

Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 4

Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 5

Photos of recent flooding in Boulevard Park from Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx’ Facebook page

Black History Month
The Burien Council has proclaimed February as Black History Month.

The proclamation said, “Black and African American community members in Burien own small businesses, work as educators, and contribute to all essential activities that contribute to Burien’s prosperity and quality of life.”

Burien Council hears of Seahurst landslide and of flooding problems due to rainy winter 6

Promoted city employees

    • Lisa Aumann, promoted to Parks maintenance supervisor
    • Bryennah Quander, promoted to department assistant
    • Devin Chicras, promoted to communications specialist
    • Ian Finan, promoted to public works maintenance
    • Justin DeWolfe, promoted to maintenance worker II

EDITOR’S NOTE: A separate story on the city’s Hazard Pay Ordinance will be forthcoming soon.