By Jack Mayne
The Eagle Landing Park stairs and the land around them will remain closed because of slide dangers, and the city has sought a permit to allow the now detached lower portion of the stairs to be entirely removed.
The Burien City Council on Monday night (Aug. 17) were told of problems of renewed and ongoing earth slides at Eagle Landing Park, as revealed in last week’s B-Town Blog story.
Maiya Andrews, the city’s public works director, reviewed what was revealed last week, adding that the dangling lower portion of the stairs down to the beach is not detached and would have to be removed. Andrews said she has just “in the last day or two” talked with the Fish and Wildlife Department about the required permit to remove the stairs, and to a contractor for prices to remove the stairs, probably by barge. “We are hopeful to get this done in the next month to two months depending on how quickly they can provide us a permit,” Andrews told the Council, adding that she would include cost later for the city budget update. The park is “quite large, even without the stairs,”and people can “easily go two-thirds to three quarters of the way down before you actually get to the stairs. “People can use the upper area, “it just doesn’t have that beach access we had before.”
Newer, wider slide
As we reported last week, a newer and wider earth slide has moved under the now closed stairs, and the city has been working on a report she gave the Council Monday. In the past five months, Andrews said there have been many trees that have fallen due to the moving earth, and the lower flight of stairs has not separated from the upper flight and, in fact, the soil beneath the stairs has slipped down and exposed the pin pilings, the point where the lower section of stairs are just kind of hanging there, swinging around.â€ She told the Council that the storms and the high tides have continued to erode the face of the slope making the unstable higher up. The sliding could continued “from days to years; we just don’t know. It makes the slope very dangerous:, Andrews said.
Storm drain discounted
She mentioned a storm drain at the top of the park and said there has been much discussion about rerouting it to “slow the landslide” of the slope. It’s our consultant’s opinion that the effect of this storm drainage is transient in nature and likely not significant compared to the bigger area that recharges the ground water and is seen surfacing at the bottom of that slope,” Andrews said. “There is very big area of land that picks up storm water and eventually it surfaces out near the bottom of the slope and you’ll see that even when it has been dry conditions for a long time, you’ll see this ground water constantly coming out the bottom of the slope. There are no good options to stop the slide,” Andrews said, that would be inexpensive – or even allowed under the city’s shoreline master program.
She said the issue has been known from the very beginning of looking at the area as a park. A report done years ago said that if a stairway was built, “a basic assumption for this project is that the subject slope will continue to be unstable in the future” and that the Burien design team understood that damage and even destruction of the stairway is possible, and that repair of the structure is probable.
Too fast to wait
“The landslide is going too fast for us to stand and watch anymore,” Andrews said. The consultant has told Burien to keep the stairs closed. “They also recommend that we immediately dismantle those lower segments of stairs” the could “topple over and endangering people who refuse to obey our closure,:she said. “We know from tracks and trails and people talking that there are people down there. It is a very dangerous area not just if you are on the stairs but if your in a slide area, you shouldn’t be walking in an area where there is land movement going on.”