John White, a Burien resident who lives next to Eagle Landing Park, produced a video on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023 that shows that trees have been recently cut around the stairs that the City of Burien plans to demolish soon.

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As we previously reported, White has filed a lawsuit to stop the demolition of the stairs at Eagle Landing Park. White – an expert in pile driving – claims that the majority of the stairs are safe and the city’s plan to demolish them is motivated by a desire to avoid responsibility for a failing bulkhead on the beach below.

The Burien City Council voted to remove the stairs due to safety concerns stemming from ongoing erosion at the park. The lower portion of the staircase was dismantled in 2015 after being undermined by erosion. City officials say the remaining portion is also at risk of collapsing and could injure or kill park users.

However, White, who has documented his opposition to the removal of the stairs on social media for many years, contends that most of the flights are actually structurally sound. He points to the lack of significant movement since their installation in 2005 and claims the city is overreacting to isolated incidents.

“These stairs haven’t moved a quarter of an inch since they were installed,” White said in a video message posted online on Dec. 24, 2023. “Taking a million dollars from the city budget to tear out these stairs is outrageous and it’s wrong.”

White further alleges the city is clearing trees at the park in preparation for bringing in a barge to dismantle the remaining stairs. He believes this activity is being rushed ahead of the holidays in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny.

The city hasn’t responded directly to White’s lawsuit yet, but maintains the stair removal is necessary to protect public safety, and has already been approved and scheduled.

White’s lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order to halt the demolition until the city conducts a more thorough safety assessment of the stairs and surrounding area.

He’s also calling on residents to come down to the park and show their support for saving the staircase.

The outcome of the lawsuit and the fate of the Eagle Landing Park stairs remain uncertain. One thing is clear, however: the issue has become a contentious one in Burien, dividing residents and raising questions about the city’s priorities and decision-making process.

Read more of out extensive previous coverage of this issue here.

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One reply on “VIDEO: Resident John White upset about City of Burien’s tree cutting in preparation for removal of Eagle Landing Stairs”

  1. Removing trees is one sure way to make that very steep slope become more unstable. Tree roots provide cohesion to the soil covering the slope, which is an important component of slope stability. Once the roots will have rotted away, the slope will likely fail during a winter storm, which could also threaten the stability of surrounding properties. This appears to be shocking mismanagement on the contractor’s part and whoever authorized the cutting of trees on an oversteepened slope that is now undercut by waves (the seawall is eroding away, right?). I am no lawyer but the city could be liable for subsequent damage.

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