The City has settled one of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.
The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope below the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleges that two separate groups of people are responsible for cutting two distinct groups of City trees. Between the two groups, about 150 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area.
“All of Seattle was disappointed to learn that hundreds of trees were illegally cut down in West Seattle—this was a violation of code and Seattle’s values,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “With today’s announcement, we can begin to turn this unfortunate event into an opportunity. The settlement will pay for the replanting of the trees and will provide resources for the City to hire youth from West Seattle to help restore the greenbelt, connecting them to the local environment and green jobs.”
According to the settlement, two couples – Stanley J. and Mary E. Harrelson and Marty and Karrie Riemer – will together pay the City $440,000 regarding one of the decimated areas. The City’s suit regarding the other area is ongoing, and unaffected by this settlement.