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

To the city manager of Burien and City Council:

Saving the Eagle Landing Park stairs, saving the city of Burien $750,000 and generating future revenue.

As you know, some of the stair piers at Eagle Landing Park were damaged due to water runoff from a storm drain. The storm drain, thanks to the Burien Public Works department, and under the direction of the City Council, has been plumbed all the way to the beach and there’s no longer any storm water being dumped on Eagle Landing Park. 

Not a tree or a twig has moved since the installation of the new pipe drain. There has not been a single slide or any geotechnical movement. In other words, the installation of the pipe drain has been a total success. The slope has returned to its natural state. 

Unfortunately, the bottom piers of the staircase were lost, the result being that there is no longer beach access. However, not all of the $2 million investment has been lost. The remaining stairs can be retrofitted.

A pending contract to remove those stairs totals more than $750,000.  As I said above, the purpose of this letter is to offer a solution that would save the city $750,000 to remove the stairs plus restore the stairs to its original condition. Once restored, the stairs will once again generate revenue for the city of Burien as explained later in this letter. 

Here are the items to consider:

Everyone would like to save the stairs.

The city would like to save $750,000 which is what it has allocated to remove the stairs.

A local contractor that is an expert in retrofitting foundations has looked at the project and agrees that the current remaining Stair Piers can be retrofitted at low cost (only two piers need grouting).

It is possible that the Recreation and Conservation Organization, the (RCO) which originally funded the $2 million dollar grant to the City of Burien to buy the property and build the stairs, would entertain providing a grant to the City to provide funds to restore beach access. The RCO wants to help. However, While working with the RCO would be a relatively simple task, it makes common sense to first repair the existing stairs to show the RCO that Our City has skin in the upgrade. 

So I am making a recommendation.

Without charge to the city, we would like to have a geotechnical engineer provide an analysis of the stability of the slope. This work would be done by Landau and Associates, a prominent geotechnical firm in Seattle. They have already looked at the stairs and are willing to make recommendations. 

Upon confirmation that the current stair piers can be stabilized, donations from the community would fund it and restore the stairs to their original condition. At this point, we can begin discussions with the Recreation and Conservation Organization with regards to receiving a grant to build the necessary pathway to the beach, which would restore Eagle Landing Park to its original condition and once again become Burien‘s second public beach access. 

As you know, currently Seahurst Park is Burien‘s only public beach access and it was the goal of the City of Burien to have a second beach access which is how Eagle Landing Park came into existence. That hard, creative work can be saved. 

Enclosing, we believe we can save the city $750,000. Those funds could be used for other more critical projects or perhaps for funding additional police officers for crime prevention or many other uses including the septic sewer issues in parts of our city.

The stairs at Eagle Landing Park are special to the City of Burien. The 345 steps were used for training by our local fire department, and many of our local gyms outsourced some of their exercise programs on those stairs. In addition, many travelers passing through the Sea-Tac Airport and suffering delays would come to the stairs to kill time which also brought economic value to our local restaurants and businesses. In addition, the activity of people going up and down the stairs resulted in his self-policing due to a presence. At the moment, the park only has a trail with no stair access which has attracted crime.

The stairs are a business investment. We can save $750,000 but also restore an asset to the city which generates revenue.

As the world leader in Foundation Construction,  I pledge my volunteer work to make sure these stairs are restored to their original condition and without cost to the city of Burien.

The rich have their beaches.

The stairs and beach access at Eagle Landing Park are not for the rich, for the rich have their beachfronts. Even I live next door and have my own private access path to the beach. I can walk to the beach and see the eagles, I can see the seal lions, I can see the coast line and Vashon Island and witness the passing of the great cargo ships as they navigate through the shipping lanes. I occasionally see orcas playing in the waters. I see and I am awestruck.

I want to share with those not owning a beachfront property.  

Burien is rich – it owns beachfront property. It just needs to find a way to take full advantage of the investment. There are two investments:

  • The kind that attracts people that shop here and dine here.
  • The other investment is what happens to the soul when experiencing the woods, the stairs, and the beach.  

No, the Eagle Landing Stairs are for the public. As the Romans said: 

“Take all the land you want but the rivers and streams and the oceans are for the people.”

UPDATE JAN. 21, 2023
On Jan. 21, 2023, Letter writer John White published this video explainer:

YouTube player

John L, White
CEO Antaeus Foundation Equipment
Seahurst resident

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have something you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to scott@southkingmedia.com and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).

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