[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor from resident and Burien City Council candidate John White, and includes a rebuttal from Burien City Manager Brian Wilson. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

To the Burien City Council and City Manager Brian Wilson,

As you know, the storm drain that was dumping millions of gallons of water on Eagle Landing park has been plumbed to the beach. Since its installation a few months ago, not one tree or twig has shifted on the park property. I know, I have been monitoring the property since 2012. I have also asked Landau and Associates, a well known geotechnical firm to take a look at the slope and provide feedback. This is because my property also borders the park and I have great concerns about the stability of the slope and the activity in the park.

Once the drain was installed, we (The City of Burien) was supposed to see if the slope stabilized. We were not going to move forward with taking out the stairs without first seeing a monitoring report. If the monitoring report showed stability having returned, we were to move forward with repairing the stairs and restoring our only other Burien public beach park.

Meanwhile, behind closed doors, the RCO and the City negotiated a deal with the RCO to release the City of Burien from the grant obligation to continue beach access from the park.

I am a key stakeholder, directly affected by the that decision and was not informed or even consulted. I live right next to this park and now that its scope has changed, I must deal with the changing activity at this park. My bedroom is less than 100-feet from the top of the stairs and now this is where park visitors are forced to gather. The noise and vandalism, including the tagging of my fence and the visitors going onto my property to get to the beach are two examples of the consequences of this backdoor deal. A better solution is at hand. We are headed in the wrong direction.

Now we (The City of Burien) is seeking contractors to remove the stairs. The stairs are a bolt together system that should not take much money to dis-assemble and carry out. I would like to buy those stairs if indeed we get to a point where they will be removed. This purchase would help pay for such an operation…..even though it is my hope the removal of the stairs idea is reversed. Our council does have the power to reverse their decisions based on new information. If it is a cost issue to do the monitoring report then we will fund such work.

We are tearing out stairs after solving the problems that damaged the stairs.

I think a better course of action better serves Burien citizens. The slope has stabilized. We have no reports of its condition. We should hold off the removal of the stairs until we actually have a Geotech provide us an updated report on the stability of the slope.

The RCO was provided incomplete data that I believe mis-led the RCO, causing them to believe the stairs cannot be saved. There was no updated monitoring report as requested under a standing resolution passed by the City council. I believe the RCO will support the repairs of the stairs if they receive an updated geotechnical report. We also believe we can come up with the funds to do the repairs and perhaps even obtain a grant to fix them from the RCO. The RCO needs to visit the site and know the updates. Keep in mind the site was once suitable to build such a structure as the stairs but the storm water played a major role in damaging them. That issue has been solved. We have the City to thank for taking the open storm drain to the beach.

Burienites want their second beach access other than Seahurst park.

In closing, the decision to take out the stairs should be delayed until we receive a geotechnical report, as requested by Nancy (Tosta) and seconded by Jimmy (Matta), on the condition of the slope after the drain was installed. That has not happened. In addition, I would like to buy the stairs should a decision move forward to remove them.

The next Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (RCO) meeting will be held June 29-30, 2021. I plan to speak at this meeting so I would like a response from our city manager on this letter as soon as possible. You can email me at [email protected]

Sincerely,
John White
Primary Property Owner & Stakeholder of Eagle Landing Park


City Manager Brian Wilson responded to White with this email:

Mr. White (John):

Please see the following update that was included in the City Manager Report to Council on June 7, 2021:

A. Consultant Services – Eagle Landing Park Stair Removal
As referenced in the 2021-22 budget, this project is to remove the stairs and rails leaving landings where stable. The City of Burien has entered into a consultant contract with Otak, Inc. and GeoEngineers, Inc. to provide services for the Eagle Landing Slope Assessment and Stairway Removal Project. These consultants are contracted to prepare plans and specifications for removing all or part of the stairway down the shoreline bluff slope. These services will provide an update on the slope failures adjacent to the stairway to help Otak and the City decide how much of the stairway to remove. Otak will use the assessment to help develop performance standards for demolition contractors to use including potential review of demolition plans and specifications.

Scope of services includes the following:

    1. Complete a brief review of our last two to three previous reports regarding slope conditions, hazard trees, and the stairway.
    2. Complete a brief surface reconnaissance to observe ground surface conditions for indications of recent slope movement and trees that are or may become susceptible to toppling onto the stairway as a result of current slope conditions.
    3. Prepare a letter report summarizing findings.
    4. Provide consultation regarding removal of the stairway at Eagle Landing Park in support of the contract.

The Eagle Landing Park Stair Removal project is included in the 2021-22 budget including funding for these consultant services.

FYI.

Brian J. Wilson
City Manager


Then White responded back to Wilson with this:

Hello Brian,

Thanks for the letter. It seems you missed a step, jumping into removal before receiving a monitoring report that was directed by our council.

Where is the updated monitoring report and the open discussion about the results of that report. Do you need me to cite the time and date of the passed resolution? Perhaps you missed it.

– John

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