‘Patching’ bluffs ignores real issues

Regarding the article, “Crews work to tame troublesome slide areas”: The federal government (we, the people) is giving Snohomish County a $16 million dollar grant to “patch” the bluffs above Puget Sound. This is a concerted effort to eliminate the costly destructive slides that affect the rail corridor. However gratifying the money, the grant deflects attention from the people and actions that have created the hazard. That responsibility needs to be shouldered by the County Planning Department, developers, BNSF railroad and ultimately we citizens of the county who fail to show up at the “public” meetings held on zoning and planning issues.

The patches that are about to be applied may help somewhat, but their construction is bit like putting a “patch” onto an earth dam that is leaking. What is worse is that it gives a sense of complacency so that the more difficult and conflicting matters are sidestepped.

The genuine issues of preserving land and trees, our proper runoff aquifers and training existing homeowners in proper stewardship are still being ignored. Development projects allowed within these fragile corridors must bare more of the cost and develop more environmentally friendly strategies if the Sound and the railroad tracks are to be protected. Most importantly, concerned citizens, and BNSF as well, must become more active “watchdogs” by insisting on development that is accountable, attuned to the peculiar environmental demands of these fragile slopes. In short, proper respect for nature in our planning should eliminate any need to run to the federal government for a $16 million “patch.”

Joan Smith

Edmonds

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