After days of seemingly non-stop rain, a landslide hit Burien’s Eagle Landing Park on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, causing extensive damage to an area around the beloved stairs.

The stairs at the park have been closed for years, but we’re aware that people still try to use them. We advise all to NOT use these stairs in their current condition, as the landslide has made them very precarious and dangerous.

“I’m very scared that someone’s going to get killed,” said park neighbor John White, who sent us this video on Saturday, Dec. 21, showing the damage affecting the stairs:

Despite city staff’s efforts to secure the stairs with fencing or new signage, visitors seem to find ways to get onto them, as well as pry their way in or discard signs.

“There are people always walking on the stairs because they ignore the signs or don’t understand the signs because they’re only in English,” White said. “There are signs only at the top but not at the bottom. I would say more than 50% of the people that are on the stairs are coming from the bottom and are probably being guided by their guidebooks that tell them how to get there from Seahurst Park. If they walk on those stairs and do not pay attention to the fact that the foundations are gone, then someone’s going to seriously get hurt.”

Several residents have also alerted us to the fact that neither signage nor fencing is enough to deter visitors to the park, either by fully blocking access to the stairs or warning them to the dangers.

The landslide may have been caused by the overflow of stormwater gushing down the hill, as seen in these videos that White shot on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019:

On Sunday, Dec. 22, City Manager Brian Wilson sent us the following statement:

City Highlights Danger Associated with the Eagle Landing Stairs

The Eagle Landing Stairs have been closed to the public for many months based on their dangerous condition and the public has been encouraged not to access these stairs. While we have closed and secured the stairs for public access based on safety concerns, the fencing and signage has been continually removed. Signage has been reinstalled this weekend and the public is once again encouraged not to use the stairs.

Erosion and earth movement surrounding the stairs has impacted the structure of the stairs. With the significant amount of rain these past several days, the stairs are even more precarious with further erosion occurring beneath the stairs. Access to these stairs has been closed by the City. Planning to remove the stairs is ongoing and is a significant Public Works/PaRCs project.

The storm drainage system that drains into Eagle Landing Park has functioned as designed and is draining onto a feeder slope. It is the City’s position that this drainage system is not related or contributing to the failing of the Eagle Landing stairs which have been closed to the public for many months. The City has conducted significant geo-technical work that supports this conclusion. Even with these reports, the City is designing a system to pipe the storm water through Eagle Landing Park to the shoreline area. These efforts are ongoing.

PaRCS Department staff and Burien Police will be in the area to ensure the Eagle Landing Park stairs are not utilized by the public.

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