Project to fill in Hollywood Hill sinkhole almost done

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, Staff Writer

Hollywood DirtPhoto by Briana Gerdeman, Dirt on Hollywood Hill is being used to fill in a sunken former garbage dump, but some residents are worried the slope is too steep to be stable. The contractor in charge of the project says it will be less steep when it’s finished, which will likely be in November. A project on Hollywood Hill that’s currently marked only by a steep slope of dirt is almost complete.

Lynn Lockhart, a contractor representing the Hollywood Hill homeowners’ association, said the goal is to fill in a former garbage dump that sank 35 feet after an earthquake. The project began in spring 2012, and Lockhart hopes it will be done by November 2013.

Contrary to what some homeowners assumed, the site — between 152nd Place NE and NE 173rd Street near Hollywood Hills Equestrian Park — will never be used for construction.

Permitting for the project started in fall 2011. The homeowners’ association put out a notice saying they would take dirt, and now charges a fee to contractors who dump dirt from the SR 520 bridge replacement project. Lockhart declined to comment in more detail about the project’s financial aspects.

Debera Carlton Harrell, media lead for the SR 520 project, confirmed that a subcontractor is hauling dirt from the SR 520 bridge to sites in Woodinville and Bothell, but said the contractor is selling the dirt to commercial and residential customers.

Woodinville resident Denise Anderson said she understands the need to fill in the sinkhole, but she’s worried the hill is too steep.

"There isn’t a plant alive that will be able to stabilize that slope," she wrote in an email.

Lockhart said it won’t be a problem. Right now, the hill is steeper than it needs to be because the dirt is "fluffed."

"You have to overfill it to cut it to slope," he said.

When the project is done, the hill will have a slope of less than 45 degrees. For every 1 foot it goes up, it will go 2 feet in, and after every 30 feet of slope, it will be flat for 10 feet. There will be retention ponds at the top and bottom, and Lockhart said he will seed it with clover the first year. After that, landscaping of the hill will be the homeowners’ association’s responsibility.

Last summer, another resident, Charlie Slemp, worried about the same thing. He predicted (in an Aug. 20, 2012 letter to the editor of the Woodinville Weekly) that the dirt would slide when it began to rain in the winter, but later (in an Aug. 27, 2012 letter) took back his concerns after learning that the project was trying to prevent slippage.

Lockhart said the dirt didn’t slide much last winter — only about 3 feet. It didn’t slide into the road, and he covered the hill with plastic to keep it from sliding further. He hopes to have the hill seeded by this winter to prevent runoff.

Patty Van Vactor, another Woodinville resident, has a different concern: the increased traffic caused by the trucks hauling dirt, which, she said, go too fast, run the four-way stop and cross the center line into oncoming traffic.

"That corner where those trucks are pulling off is a very blind turn," Van Vactor said. "I had this thought of, ‘Dear God, don’t let anybody come around this corner, because they’re going to nail this truck.’"

She’s particularly worried that it’s unsafe for kids walking home from Hollywood Hill Elementary School, and for bicyclists like her and her husband. She suggests putting up signs warning people to drive slowly and having people control traffic in the area the trucks travel.

But there have been no accidents, Lockhart said; the only problem was with a woman who was upset that her car got dirty, and Lockhart offered to have it cleaned. He said his interactions with Hollywood Hill residents have been positive, and he’s willing to field questions from residents.

Questions, comments or news tips? Email Briana Gerdeman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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