Burien’s Eagle Landing Park Stairs were quietly removed last week – quiet other than the sound of chainsaws, tools and grunting workers – leaving behind several cut trees and a hill devoid of the once-beloved, outdoor exercise location used by many residents and visitors.

The City of Burien paid around $800,000 or so for a contractor to complete the demolition, which utilized a barge and tow line to remove the flights of stairs, leaving only some Erosion Control Blankets (ECBs) on a barren hill behind.

Despite many residents’ objections – which included a temporary restraining order lawsuit (that was denied), online petition, social media uproar, letters to the city and a candlelight vigil – the demolition was completed around last Friday, Jan. 5. 2024.

The stairs – which connected park visitors to the shoreline – were constructed in 2005.

Contractors closed down the park to the public during demolition in late November.

Below is a photo of the new view from the top of the Eagle Landing bluff where the stairs once started:

This is a view from the top of the Eagle Landing bluff where the stairs once started. Stairs and pilings appear to have been fully removed, with Erosion Control Blankets left behind.

Below are file photos showing the Eagle Landing Stairs in their glory:

Photo courtesy Paul Conrath.

And photos showing the damage to some of the stairs:

City Manager Adolfo Bailon completed the stair termination project that had been approved by the Burien City Council in Nov. 2016, as part of the city’s 2017–2018 budget.

The removal took until now due to delays caused by the COVID pandemic.

Arguably, beach access was lost 10 years ago in 2014 when a slide that heavily damaged the lower stair foundations occurred.

Had the city chosen to restore beach access, there were still two factors: at what cost, and is the hillside stable enough for the city to accept liability?

Ultimately, the city decided that public safety risks outweighed the benefits and chose to decommission and demolish the stairs. John White, a neighbor to the park and longtime advocate for saving the stairs, maintained that they are safe, and that the hillside has not moved.

Now that the stairs are gone, will White continue with his lawsuit, or will he focus his considerable talents on future UFO festivals, films, and civic work with his very talented wife, (Shelli Park, Chief of the Burien Planning Commission) on future ways to help with Burien’s economic development?

Read our extensive previous coverage of the Eagle Landing Stairs issue here.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.