Agencies squabble over chore

If your neighbor was a group of government agencies that couldn’t agree on who should mow the lawn, would you cut the overgrown grass yourself?

Michael OLeary / The Herald

Terry Beckers dog Sammie is nearly hidden in grass at the Eastmont park-and-ride lot in Everett. Becker is frustrated that no government agency is taking responsibility for cutting the grass.

That’s what Everett resident Terry Becker did. It wasn’t his neighbor’s yard, exactly, but it might as well have been.

The Eastmont park-and-ride lot a block from Becker’s house is the first thing visitors see when they enter the neighborhood. The yellowish, 4-foot-tall grass and weeds that line the lot and El Capitan Way are an eyesore to residents, Becker said.

“You could compare this to a neighbor with a rundown house and garbage all over the yard,” he said. “It’s like a bigger version of that.”

The overgrown grass has gotten so bad that he mowed part of it himself. But now it’s gotten so tall his lawn mower can’t handle it, he said.

More than an eyesore, the overgrown grass makes it easier for people to steal vehicles from the park-and-ride, said Becker, a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy. He said the weeds may violate safety standards that require the lot to be open, and therefore less vulnerable to vehicle prowls.

Four Sound Transit buses and one Everett Transit bus stop at the park-and-ride, but neither agency has taken responsibility for the overgrown grass.

Fred Chun, a transportation services project manager for Sound Transit, said Snohomish County’s Community Transit is supposed to maintain the area. But CT spokesman Tom Pierce said his agency is keeping the park-and-ride tidy, but the area outside the lot is Everett’s responsibility.

That’s where it gets tricky.

The entrance to the park-and-ride is off El Capitan Way. CT has trimmed a stretch of grass lining the entrance, but the rest of the grass along the road looks like a hay field.

Paul Kaftanski, Everett Transit’s transportation services director, said his staff noticed that the park-and-ride wasn’t up to the required “trimming standards,” so his agency recently contacted Sound Transit and CT.

“I understand that there’s a higher effort to maintain landscaping now,” he said.

But Kaftanski isn’t sure whether the rest of the grassy area is CT’s or the city’s responsibility.

Chun said he just hopes someone takes care of the problem soon.

“I’m pushing Everett and Community Transit to get some response,” Chun said. “I want that area to look nice.”

While the government agencies try to figure out who should mow the lawn, Becker said he’s frustrated with the bureaucratic quagmire he and his neighbors have had to deal with.

He said the unkempt land is an eyesore and keeps down neighborhood property values.

“This is truly the gateway to Eastmont,” Becker said. “But what are you going to think when you drive through? I don’t want to live here.”

Reporter Chris Collins: 425-339-3436 or

Michael O’Leary / The Herald

Terry Becker’s dog Sammie is nearly hidden in grass at the Eastmont park-and-ride lot in Everett. Becker is frustrated that no government agency is taking responsibility for cutting the grass.

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