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Work begins to restore W. Seattle hillside after trees cut to 'improve view'

Work begins to restore W. Seattle hillside after trees cut to 'improve view'

SEATTLE -- Work has begun to restore a hillside in West Seattle where more than 150 trees were illegally cut down last year.

In 2016, two separate homeowners paid a contractor to have the trees cut down to improve their views of the city.

The trees were cut without a permit, and were in an environmentally critical area on a steep slope. The trees were cut near the 3200 block of 35th Avenue Southwest.

Crews on Thursday started removing stumps, planting new trees, and worked to remove invasive vegetation, and stabilize the slope near the Admiral neighborhood.

All the work is being paid for by the settlement the city got from the defendants in the case.

Two homeowners, the Harrelsons and the Reimers, admitted to being involved in removing the trees.

The city was originally seeking more than $1 million from homeowners, but because two couples were cooperative in the settlement early in the litigation, that figure was reduced.

Under the settlement terms, together, both couples paid the city $440,000 in total.

"Trees are a vital resource and this settlement puts people on notice that the city will not ignore any unauthorized cutting of city trees," said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes after the settlement in April.

The work is expected to continue through the fall.

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