IMG_3189 Eagle Landing Park neighbor John White points to the current state of the bottom portion of the stairs at Eagle Landing Park on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014.[/caption] Residents who use the stairs at Burien’s Eagle Landing Park – popular for exercise and beach access – may want to seriously heed the city’s recent closure, as the bottom portion of the structure is precariously close to totally failing, as of Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. On Dec. 12, the City of Burien announced that it had closed the entire stairway at the park, due to a “significant erosion event.” The photo above shows that the erosion has been continuing, and is at a more significant stage than when the park was closed by the city. But as we previously reported, some neighbors say that the cause is more likely due to erosion from stormwater runoff that starts above the stairs near the parking lot, then seeps down through the hill. The city claims the erosion is from “wave action” from recent storms. Here’s a note from park neighbor John White:

The second to the bottom pier has tilted so far to the sea it has broken away from the steel stairs leaving an entire section dangerously dangling in the wind. The Parks Department bolted a piece of plywood to block people from walking down the stairs but many just jump right around it and continue down to the beach. The steel stair section has now snapped away from the second to the last concrete pier and is hanging from a few bolts – anyone not realizing this is in serious danger of they walk out onto the unsupported stair section – the tiny bolts holding that section in place could fail at any time. Anyone stepping on that section is risking serious injury. We can thank a 100-year-old wooden retaining wall for not washing out the entire lower section but there is so much damage now it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. It can be saved. We do not need to just sit and watch this great venue wash into the sea. I try to hold back from saying anything negative but this did not need to happen. There was ample warning. Now we need to kick into gear and take action to get these stairs repaired. If you want to help please email
Here are some previous photos: [caption id="attachment_80490" align="aligncenter" width="490"]eagle-landing White’s previous photos show the change in the stairs from Feb. 28, 2013 to Dec. 9, 2014.[/caption]]]>

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16 replies on “PHOTO: The bottom portion of the stairs at Eagle Landing Park is toast”

    1. And how on earth was the city able to obtain the proper permits to install these stairs in the first place? Have tried for almost a decade to obtain a permit from the “powers that be” to replace stairs lost in a storm. According to them, predatory fish hang out under dark stairs and could eat salmon; therefore, they will not issue a permit for a permanent structure. So just how did the city obtain a permit? Definitely not through the proper channels… And getting Eagle Scouts to help build the stairs does not make you exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else.

  1. The second to the most bottom pier as shown in the photos, has tilted to the sea and has broken away from the upper stair case. That stair section is dangling in the wind and held there by only a few tiny bolts. If someone should walk out onto it the bolts will break and the whole stair section could fall dangerously down. WARNING: Do not walk onto that section because any weight at all will cause those bolts to shear.
    John White

  2. What needs to be done asap to save the stairs:
    A barge needs to be loaded with some large rock and moved to the site. A large excavator can be also loaded on this barge. The barge can be beached and the excavator can be used to unload the rock and place it along the erosion site. (Sea erosion is due to the loss of a portion of the 110-year-old wooden sea wall) The excavator can be equipped with biodegradable hydraulic oil such as Terrasolve a readily biodegradable hydraulic fluid that will not harm fish or plant life. It is my understanding our City has a large collection of such rock which was removed from Seahurst Park. Let’s use our resources and skills to save the shoreline of Eagle Landing Park. The 100-year-old wooden seawall is protecting most of the area but the section protecting the park was washed away long ago. If you really care and want to get a first hand view of what is happening then go down to Seahurst Park and walk South on the beach and take a look for yourself. You can see the old wooden sea wall and what is continuing to happen where the sea wall is missing. The old sea wall is made up of 24-inch diameter logs that are interlocked together – it is a work of art. This wall has been mostly covered for many years but is now open for all to see. I doubt anyone can remember who installed it and when. It is a nice piece of ancient work.

    1. John,
      I agree that this park and stairs are a gem and appreciate what Burien Parks Dept has done. I’m sure they knew the area is unstable and I suspect they simply underestimated how fast the area moves.
      However, armoring the beach is not the answer. There are good reasons we removed the armoring at Seahurst Park and do not allow any more in Burien. Bulkheads are a temporary fix to a local issue that makes the overall situation worse.
      This is a natural feeder bluff that supplies sand and gravel to the beach to compensate for the natural erosion into deep water. To impede that function is to increase beach erosion and the undercutting of bulkheads down the beach.
      There is no easy fix. Maybe the best solution would be to build a surface trail that we know will have to be redone frequently as things erode and change. The annual costs may not be any greater than the amortized annual costs of the heavy construction solutions and, unlike the coarse grating on the current stairs, my small dog could use the trail.

  3. I suggest the following:
    Build a sea wall / bulkhead at the bottom of the stairs. Dig it deep and wide, and anchor it to bedrock. Provide weep holes to relieve hydrostatic pressure from water drainage above, and address drainage issues from the parking lot as suggested by John White. Do it right and do it soon! The City of Burien needs to fix the Eagle Landing Stair Park now, before more damage occurs and the already considerable investment in the park is wasted.

    1. I think it’s a waste of taxpayers money to continue fixing these stairs, that money could be used for more police officers in Burien
      that’s for sure.
      If folks want them fixed then you raise the money but don’t take it from city of Burien,,,

  4. Mr. White, is your property (to the north of the stairs) also eroding? Or is the only erosion near the stairs where roadway runoff passes through?

    1. My property is not eroding- it is protected by the wooden sea wall installed probably before I was born. As I mentioned earlier, a portion of the wooden sea wall is missing in front of the Park area – this is part of the reason why the shore keeps washing away. My property is well North of this area. One walk on the beach on a rainy day will tell the whole story.
      One of my motivations is to save the $380,000 City investment in those stairs. In addition, the City paid nearly a million dollars for the property and these stairs are really the only venue for the Park. The City has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the Park and to protect our investments. However, I do agree it would be helpful if some private donations were made available to fix those stairs and I am willing to donate more than just my efforts at monitoring and reporting on the status. I love the stairs. I meet a lot of super nice people on those stairs. If the stairs cannot be fixed then the Park is far less desirable to visit. I am sure some folks would like to see the Park closed due to crime but I am not on that list. I know many people enjoy the Park and come from all over the country just to walk the stairs.

  5. IIRC, I was told that their used to be some cabins down there that washed into the sound as well as a pier. A long time resident also told me that the timber from this area was used to make the downtown Seattle sea wall that currently needs to be replaced.

  6. Geo Engineers’ latest geotechnical report says the stairs, even the upper portions, are on a slide area that is part of the slide area that took out the 160-foot plus tree that was an official Eagle perch since the 1920’s. Therefore, the stairs are closed since Dec 12th, 2014. I do not see them re-opening…it will just be too costly to replace all those stair concrete piers. The City cannot get federal funds to install a new seawall because those funds are only available for the act of removing seawalls. If a citizen takes matters into is own hands and brings in a loaded barge and starts shoring up the beach then he will be fined. So the solution is to say: Goodbye Stairs. Lost are the days when everyone just chipped in and solved the problem. We have all these fine government agencies such as Fish and Wild Life, Department of Ecology, Corps of Engineers, Waste Water Management, Shore Protection, so many hoops to jump through not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars to do a host of studies…………..It reminds me of a story I once heard from an old man from another generation: “We fought two wars, in the Pacific and In Europe and we were victorious in four years but to park one aircraft carrier in Everett took seven years of permits”………..yea, the stairs are toast all right and it would take a superman to get them back. It’s days like this I wish for a King rather than a democracy. John L. White

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