Medina residents mourn the loss of 520 forest



Posted on June 29, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 29 at 7:22 PM

MEDINA, Wash. - The trees along SR 520 are innocent victims of a highway in need of widening. For most, it's just a drive-by distraction, but for some it's a whole new outlook.

"It's been upsetting, emotionally upsetting, it's sad, neighbors are upset,” said Eileen Acheson.

Especially on the block where neighbors bought luxury homes with a forest in the front yard. They say they knew construction was coming their way, including a new sound barrier wall, but they didn't know about the trees, until Sunday.

"Sunday there was a massacre of the trees,” said Acheson. “There were saws going off all weekend long as they shut down 520. It was just tree after tree just falling down,” said Eileen Acheson.

By the time the cutting stopped, the only thing left was a view of the cars going by on 520. The forest in the front yard was gone, leaving behind only a pile of slash.

Satellite photos show the forest that separated the homes from the highway before construction.

The view out the front windows was into the green buffer. The view out the window today is much different.

"We now have a full view of 520. My privacy has been lost. The valuation of the home has probably significantly dropped,” said Acheson.

"There are lots and lots of plantings; trees, shrubs, bushes that soften the bluntness of that concrete wall and should make that community ... much more community-esque when we're done,” said David Dye, Deputy Secretary WSDOT.

The neighbors are hopeful but in the bleakness of the moment, they say it's hard to picture that vision with all those cars in the way.

WSDOT images of completed project