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.” 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.”

Jack Mayne

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

22 replies on “FOLLOWUP: Eagle Landing lower stairs to be removed, stair area kept closed”

  1. Just a thought…
    There has been more slides in Eagle Landing since the ivy has been removed which was helping with run off. Ivy may be invasive but it does serve a purpose holding water and stabilizing slopes.
    The drain by the entrance to the park drains from 149th street, 22, 24 and 25th streets. To say nothing of the houses that may have their down spouts also drain down driveways to the street. How can this drain not be eroding the hill. Have you ever watched the water gush out of it when it rains like it did on Friday? Altho this drain has been there since before the park was established.
    Also the houses above the park are not hooked to sewers, they each have their own septic system.
    No wonder the hill is sliding more.

    1. Actually ivy does not help with slope stabilization at all, the roots are far too shallow. That’s why you can roll up an ivy mat and get most of the roots unless they’ve simply gotten too big.
      The water that is coming out at the bottom of the slope is probably coming from a very wide area, going down through the ground then along the surface of the clay layer. Some of it could be originating a significant distance inland. Having a large drain dumping water in a small area certainly can’t be helping though.

      1. Kevin,
        Rather than speculate, I kindly request that you go down to Eagle Landing Park on a rainy day and watch the water flow. You have put about as much work into this as Geo Engineers has done. I am not attacking you because you have not been paid to go down and take a look and file a report so please do not get upset with me.
        I live next door. That makes me the primary stakeholder. To sit and be quiet would be a lazy, no account way to serve my community. It is my duty to speak out. I thank you for your possible suggestions on what is going on but I beg you to go down there and take a look for yourself.
        John White

  2. Overlooking all the poor decisions of the past, when is it ever going to cost less or be a better time to remove this derelict stair case? Will bringing in a barge twice cost less? Does leaving the rest of the staircase over the winter make sense? Of course not. Get the job done. As you have stated all of the risks, do what you can to diminish the cities vulnerability to a law suit.

  3. Maiya Andrews, the city’s public works director, is not the one claiming the drain pipe at the top of the park is not a factor- she knows full well it is, this claim comes from Geo Engineer’s geotechnical report- a faulty, incomplete pile of non sense written by someone that has not even taken the time to walk in the woods. He was not even told a pipe drained on the property. He is a joke and his report is a joke. Now that would be slander if it were not true. I happily await a lawsuit because I would run that stupid report right up their you know what.
    Maiya Andrews was informed the pipe drain at the top of the park was going to erode the stairs long before they failed. Good actual data was delivered. The good citizens living near this pipe have repeatedly, for years, providing photos and video showing the ongoing damage this open pipe has caused and continues to cause.
    The handling of this situation is reactionary………..rather than proactive.
    Now new problems are developing. Folks ignore the closed signs and make their own path to the beach. And while this goes on we still have a large pipe draining thousands of gallons of water onto to known saturated slope. Removing the bottom piers will cost plenty and could have been avoided. Those costs are nothing compared to what is coming.
    How much is it costing Burien tax payers to pay for the rental fence the has been put up around the upper stairs? How much will it cost for Earth Corps to replant all the vegetation trampled on and more importantly, what new erosion will develop from these newly cut pathways?
    Slopes move but they move slowly, not rapidly. Are we to believe the City knew all along the slope was unstable but moved forward with buying the property for nearly a million dollars and spending an additional 380K on a stair case………..full well knowing it would fail………..I think not!
    The stairs did not have to fail. We needed leadership when good folks were providing sound data showing the drain pipe was the root cause. Geo Engineer’s should be ashamed of the geotechnical report. A sound report would have demanded the City deal with the pipe rather than say the pipe has no effect. Bad reports lead to bad results and Geo Engineers will be faced with having to retract their report because the rains are coming and the pipe is still there……………because those in charge do not wish to accept the truth. No matter, nature will override the false claims.
    Manson or Kiewit can come get the bottom piers……they are gone. We have been set up. The City has warned us the whole hillside is now sliding which of course it is due to the storm runoff from the pipe.
    Even now the stairs can be saved. The slides are being accelerated to a rate where movement that would take centuries happens in one rainy season. Geo Engineers has come up with an answer…a prediction……slides happen, its natural, there is nothing we can do about it, the pipe has no impact, get ready for the next slide. What a bunch of bull shxzttt!
    John L. White

    1. Hey Mr White were are your facts on this you claim before that your own geo engineer working on this. But you didn’t post there results. You discredited the city results with out your proof. You are also the one that would have benefited from this project had gone your way do to fact that your property is right next door to the park and fact you own a pile drivering company that works on building sea wall’s and such items. Were you could of possabily gotten the contract for the job do to your connection to the city. May be the city has also notice your trail of not providing accurate information or information that leads to padding your pockets with tax payers money.

    2. John,
      You sound like the pipe is the source of the water. All it does is conduct the water under the road. That water would still be coming even if you remove the pipe and the road. It concentrates the flow, makes for dramatic video and causes local erosion, but that appears to have been addressed. If surface erosion was the problem, we would have an eroded gully with collapsing sides. I have not seen anything like that.
      The slide instability is due to the ground water, the clay layer and the nature of the soil. As the city states, this is a natural, necessary, and inevitable function of what is called a feeder bluff. I think the city acted on the best info available and knew the stairs wouldn’t last forever. Unfortunately, they didn’t last as long as hoped either.
      I think the most likely solution is to remove most or all of the stairs and try to develop a surface trail that we know will require frequent repairs and section replacement. It would be a shame not to have beach access at this park.

      1. Lee you said in your post: ” If surface erosion was the problem, we would have an eroded gully with collapsing sides. I have not seen anything like that.”
        You are right, we would see an eroded gully with collapsing sides. Go take a look. Walk the path of the water but be careful, my neighbors fell into a four foot deep canyon dug by this water.
        If you walk to the French drain located at the base of the pipe and then follow it to the pathway that enters Eagle Landing Park you will see the gully and collapsing sides just beyond the pathway. If you follow it the gully will lead you down to the service road which is drastically eroded by this water. You will see water dams built and installed to try to prevent this erosion from happening. Most of all, if you go down there on a rainy day you can watch the gully as it continues to enlarge- and then you will be a believer because this is what threatens the stairs, not the sea water below.
        If you watch the park like I do then you would see Earth Corps out there working on this area, paid by the City. They are suppose to be removing ivy but have become drainage managers and you and I are paying for it. I know, I talked to them. I have hired them to do work for me to remove Ivy at Forest Ledge as part of a land management program to restore the forest lands on my property. I have provided hoses and water for them to water the plants they installed to help stop the water. Talk to any of those employees and you will get the same story I am telling you now. If they thing the drain pipe is the problem then someone should listen right? No, they are contracted to do the work and not say anything that might get them in trouble. Call Jamie right now at Earth Corps and ask her what she has been doing and get her opinion on the drain pipe. Talk to Nelson Salsbury, lead geologist for Earth Corps. Study both the Land Management program he work for the City and if you wish, I will give you a copy of the one Earth Corps did for Forest Ledge. I am telling you, I have done some heavy homework on this issue.
        Let me know when you come down and I will walk with you down this path of erosion.
        If you come down when it firsts starts to rain you may not see the erosion in action. This is because the sand can absorb a lot of water. In fact, I was convinced there was no problem when I first looked while it was raining hard………the water came out of the pipe and quickly disappeared into the soil yards before getting to the pathway…………but then a few days later I came up the driveway to see a massive crew at work replacing the entire pathway that had washed out. I thought a water main had broken. Dump trucks with dozens of yards of sand and crews repairing a massive erosion issue. I watched the water flow and was shocked to see it no longer was being absorbed by the French drain. The pathway was gone……….I mean totally washed away. Now they installed two pipes under the pathway. That was an eye opener for me. I realized the French drain can only take so much and then it fills up and no more water can go into it………and the result is a washed out pathway and a gully down stream that you could ride a water craft on. It was an eye opener for me and it will be for you too.
        John

  4. With all the money invested into this park it’s sad to see them so quick to give up on it.
    Side note: just got back into walking daily and was looking forward to the Eagle Landing stair challenge! Guess we’ll have to change our goal.

  5. I fully expect that we will be able to view the remains of this staircase a decade from now. Inability to make a cogent decision having deteriorate along with the cliff, at about the same rate. The upper portion of the park will probably have been turned into a combined homeless camp and carpark, with fresh spring water freely available. Some entrepreneurial sort will offer week-end tours of the camp and surrounding area as ‘A Walk Through the History of Burien.
    You may think this is laughable. Do you also think the decision to spend $300,000+ on a staircase that was predicted to fail is laughable? Would you make the same decision if it were for your home? If it were me, I would have asked for another design. I would have asked for examples of successful construction in similar circumstances.
    We have numerous examples of ‘spring water’ run-off in the Burien area. (Yes, there is more to Burien than 152nd, Lake Burien, Seahurst and Three Tree Point.) We also have numerous examples of how such areas are poorly understood and as often as not polluted and damaged beyond repair by the city and/or developers, who are given free rein to ‘repair the storm water problem’.
    The city would be wise to look for professionals who have examples of successful history and experience in dealing with areas that have springs. Developers are not going to like the suggestions made by such people. And the City is not going to like the costs. But, in the long run, our area will benefit from the green belts that would develop along with the character and health of our community. We benefit everyday from decisions that were made by taking the ‘long view’. We rather desperately need to start thinking this way again and act with pride in our decisions and our community.

  6. Corrected:
     Jimmy, you crack me up. You charge that I make claims without backing them up with proof. It seems you are calling the kettle black here. I have never owned a pile driving company. I owned a manufacturing company that made pile drivers but I have never owned a company that drives piles. You can Google American Piledriving Equipment, located in Kent and get a few more facts.
    For more than 30 years I have been consulting pile driving contractors that wish to drive piles into the earth which requires that I know something about soils and how to read a soils report. You name the bridge in this world today and I have read the soils logs for it- worldwide. I know a bit about soils reports and geotechnical engineering. I have found this knowledge to be helpful for this subject matter.
    When I moved to Seahurst I was asked by several neighbors to investigate the drain pipe.
    I studied it. I measured the flow rate during the rains. I measured the flow rate of other property owner’s drainage on the slope. I installed flow meters on the drain pipes of the resident a few doors south of me, since his pipes were drilled into the slope at the clay layer. I monitored the flow of these pipes during both the summer and winter months.
    I read the soils reports that have been done for many properties in this area.
    Some have said in this thread that I could just let this situation go, citing that it would benefit me to see the park abandoned since the park does attract some bad people. This is true, I could just remain silent. Why care? I love the stairs. I enjoy the people that work out on those stairs. I like walking on the beach. I want to see this park succeed. I live here. The decisions regarding this park are being made by people that do not live here and have zero personal stake in whether this park is open or closed. They put up a fence and only do things when they are forced to.
    I HAVE NEVER OWNED A PILE DRIVING COMPANY
    I sold my pile driving equipment company years ago. Even if I still owned it, the amount of funds generated from renting a pile driver to fix the seawall would be too small for APE. In fact, a pile driver would not be used at all; perhaps a few large stones would be placed just as what you see due south of the park.
    APE is the world’s largest pile driving equipment supplier and we focused on big jobs like the bridge from China to Macau or Safeco Field or the Seahawks stadium and even these projects were tiny compared to the majority of the projects we were involved in. My dream was to show the construction industry that equipment could operate using non toxic vegetable oil. APE is the largest user of vegetable oil in the world and I am very proud to have led this fight.
    To say I am motivated to fix the seawall because it would generate business for me is false. Most people were not aware there was a seawall and the City has yet to admit there is one, yet you and I can go down to the beach and walk on top of the damaged wall and see how it is continually failing. Even now the City website claims there was no seawall when they purchased the property. The soils report fails to mention it.
    Jimmy, I love ya. cause you post and that is better than not posting. Anything to bring attention to this issue is helpful.
    Now let’s say you move to Burien and buy Forest Ledge and find angry neighbors that have tried for years to get the City to address the pipe. Even if it was not the cause of damage in the Park you still cannot drain 26 homes and the streets all into one giant pipe and dump it onto land. Like any good citizen you would listen and investigate.
    Someone on this thread said the water ends up there anyway. Really? Yes but it lands on trees and vegetation over a wide area, is slowly absorbed into the soil and by nature, the flow is controlled. That flow changed when the pipe was installed. Now we get a rush of water all at once and to a single location.
    Someone said I never put any funds out to do anything in this town. That is just another attempt to change the subject rather than stay on topic. My job as an elder living in Burien is to give and my record speaks for itself.
    I will make this bold statement. The City has a soils report that claims the slides are massive and the stairs are not safe and should be scrapped. I say this is not the case. So here is my statement: I will pay to install a vertical drain at the top of the Park which will handle all the flow from this pipe. I will also install GPS monitors on every concrete pier supporting the stairs to provide real time data on any movement so the folks can go back to using the investment we all paid for. I predict that after a vertical drain is installed the stairs will be safe and will not move more than 1/4 inch in ten years. There will be no slides. As part of this agreement, if at the ten year mark the stair piers have not moved more than 1/4 inch then the City should then be instructed to reimburse me for the costs of installing the drain. That is how sure I am about the pipe. Stop the water and this problem goes away.
    No one has watched the flow of this pipe more than I have. No one has watched the concrete piers more than I have. If the City printed the letters and data that I confidentially sent them you would discover how all of this could have been prevented. In fact, why don’t you request copies of all the letters, photos, videos and other data that I have sent the City regarding this pipe- then you would have the facts.
    Before any piers failed at Eagle Landing Park you will find letters, photos, data, predicting exactly what happened- including a story by King 5 News.
    The rains are coming. Go look at the pipe right now and see how City workers have built up around it with rocks in an attempt to get ready for the disaster when the rains come. Why all this work if the soils report says this pipe is not a problem? Even now the pipe is costing plenty.
    I sent my letters confidentially because I did not wish to cause issue with the City publically. I do not wish to brawl with the City. However, this dog and pony show has gone on for too long. So now I will make my predictions openly. The rains are coming and the French drain will overflow, destroying the path to the park and causing more giant trees to fall and slides to happen.
    The pipe is there. The rain is coming. No one has solved anything. They have mis-directed it to a story about how the damaged pier will be removed in the name of safety.
    Here is why others should be concerned. The clay layer at the 50 foot mark above sea level is fragmented and it tilts both South and North. This means water is dropping quickly through the 150 feet of sand above and hitting the clay layer and not just traveling to the sea, but North and South. This means slides will occur both north and south of the park. The big Eagle Perch tree was on private land owned by 400 residents of Seahurst. The tree is south of the park but 150 feet above the beach. The slide that destroyed the tree came from water from this pipe. There are no structures on that property but each year this issue grows and now that we have increased the flow rate we will see additional property damage.
    Time will tell the story. In fact, it has been telling the story but no one at the City wants to deal with it. If those key people lived here, in Burien, next to the anger property owners then the story would be different.

    1. Note to Jimmy:
      In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.—Wikipedia

      1. mr.white even owning a company that rents or sells the equipment to do this type of work make it seems you have some type of connection to the business going up to bid for job like this.

      2. hmm interesting the other day someone posted something about the character on the cover of mad magazine. Then when I went to do some research on you I ran across a profile with a picture of that character from the cover of mad magazine the same profile for you and startyourown now it seems you change a couple letters in your name to try throw people off well it did not work. Welcome to the internet Rick.

      3. Dick, Jimmy is off topic but at least he posts something. If you look through his posts you can find something positive. I have gone off more than most in my 60 years. Jimmy keep posting. When you attack me it is really more about you then me anyway. Hope you are having a great weekend. John

        1. John, I find nothing positive in the majority of Jimmy’s posts. He spends more time trying to invent facts about people (like your piledriving contract, and I’m really Alfred E Newman) instead of researching solutions to problems that the original post was about. His only effort goes to trying to discredit people with accusations not based on facts. Unless of course you believe everything on the internet is true and there are not any people with the same name. IMO he meets the definition of an internet troll. I wish you luck with the city! I have found that sometimes it is like beating your head against a wall.

          1. I did not say you are Alfred E Newman. What I said is a person with a name very similar to yours that lives in the area is using a picture of Alfred E Newman as their profile picture.
            Alfred E. Neuman is the fictitious mascot and cover boy of Mad, an American humor magazine. The face had drifted through U.S. pictography for decades before being claimed by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman, and later named by the magazine’s second editor Al Feldstein. He briefly appeared in the animated TV series Mad.
            Now for Mr. white situation his company that he owns APE is a piledriving equipment company that ether sells or rent or uses these piledriving equipment to build things like sea wall’s and other support structure’s.Now when a city needs this type of work done they put out a contract for different company’s to bid on the job. With Mr. white’s connection in this line work it may give him or some company a upper hand on getting the bid for the job.Then you have to question why is he the only so vocal in getting issue that has been going on for years taken care of. Is the land that he owns also unstable and this may save him some money or is for the view he has out his windows of a drain pipe instead of nice rock waterfall. Then he also states he has all these flow results and other test’s but he doe’s not post them.

  7. Mr.white I have looked at your linkin profile https://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-white/43/744/588 all I see is you have a MBA in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services but nothing on your geoengineering training or where you lenred about geoengineering. Then in one of your post you claim to have two geoengineering company’s looking into this issue but in doing some searching one of the company’s slope.inc does not even have a yellow page ad or any information on the internet about the this company. The other company is Landau and Associates The city used there services for town square noise testing. But I can’t find anything on Landau and Associates doing any geoengineering testing results for eagle landing park. So mr.white if you have these results why don’t you post them.

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