Northwest NEWS

February 21, 2000

Editorial

Keep listening for those chainsaws

   It is impossible to miss the manmade devastation that recently occurred at the corner of 164th and 175th/172nd streets on Hollywood Hill. What used to be a beautiful forest with sizeable trees is now a shredded mess that is sure to become a significant fire hazard this summer.

   To add insult to injury, this was all performed without a valid permit, to which King County shrugs its shoulders and says, "Oh well, the damage is done and there is nothing we can do now." Well, there should be. The owner's response to the six-year moratorium "penalty" was basically that they were relieved that now maybe the phone will stop ringing from developers wanting the land! Great!

   The owner of the property sold the logs for a handsome profit and will get away it.

   Impound the logs, fine the owner/logging company, etc. Do something! Assess "visual damage" charges, whatever it takes. Currently, there is no way to halt the illegal logging rapidly. Unfortunately, it takes only a few hours in some cases to erase perhaps almost a hundred years of growth. We are all at risk from this type of activity.

   We recently noticed several surveyors and timber cruisers calling out tree species, sizes, and dollar values in a section of property surrounded by several homes that was previously called "unbuildable." There is a sensitive area wetland on this property, drainage to Bear Creek, not to mention peace and solitude. My neighbor below me has already been flooded severely two years ago even with the status quo.

   Myself and several other neighbors most impacted by the potential building of at least two homes are currently trying to determine what we can do to preserve this woods/ecosystem, yet also give the owner of these lots fair compensation. However, I could come home to discover that the forest had already been clearcut, God forbid, and what would happen to the owners? Seems like not much, at this point.

   I hope that other readers of this are not in similar positions and that landowners realize that there are alternatives to hacking down all of the trees. Keep listening for those chainsaws.

Gregg Frey, Hollywood Hill