[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

More Eagle Landing secrecy

When I read in The B-town Blog that $400,000 had been budgeted to “fix the stairs” I thought it too good to be true. And it was. The Parks Dept. Director confirmed that the stairs were not to be repaired, but would not divulge anything about what was to be done. I have emailed a number of times over the last couple months and the Parks Director refuses to give any information. Are you planning to remove the landings? No answer. Is it being considered? No answer. They are waiting for a consultant’s report. What was the consultant asked to consider? No answer. The responses were either evasions or the questions were just ignored.

So what is to happen? It seems reasonable, judging by the budget, that they intend to destruct and remove the landings. This park was a very nice natural area. Based on the clear straight swath that was cut thru the upper half of the park for the storm sewer pipeline it is reasonable to assume we will get another bare swath cut thru the lower part of the park to remove the landings. This is a worse situation because it will be very hard to prevent substantial erosion in this active slide prone area. The landings and established vegetation help stabilize the area. The landings are no safety hazard to people or the environment and are not visible from the official trail.

As is, the stairs are a safety and liability risk. People still use them for exercise. Years ago the council addressed that risk by directing the Parks Dept to remove the steps ASAP. Leaving the landings left options for the stairs open for discussion. The Parks Dept ignored the directive. Now the city can distort that directive and the city attorney can emphasize liability risk so they can remove the landings as well.

So why does the city want to remove the landings? As long as they stand there is the possibility of using them in a modified way such as a temporary setup at the bottom where the erosion damage is located, terminating the stairs part way down with a viewing platform, etc. Maybe it is because it is politically simpler to end all discussion by removing all possibilities. After all, the rushed destruction of the Annex worked to silence the critics of the hasty termination of the lease agreements with the nonprofit orgs using the facility and anyone with ideas for optional uses such as a central storage and service area for Parks Dept maintenance equipment.

So what is the answer to the excessive secrecy in Burien City management? Maybe the answer is to substantially increase the salary of the new city manager. This would increase our chances of getting a manager who is competent and confident rather than marginally able and insecure – one who is open to new ideas and believes in transparency of government rather than one who acts as if secrecy and intimidation are the key to holding on to power. It will save money in the long run.

– Lee Moyer

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