Parks director sidesteps bureaucracy to remove hazard from popular trailhead

By Dan Aznoff | Aug 03, 2017

Disagreement over the responsibility for a metal pipe protruding from the ground at the head of the North Creek Trail at North Creek Park did not prevent the county from eliminating the potentially dangerous obstacle.

Snohomish County Parks Director Tom Teigen issued a work order this week to remove the hazard despite questions over responsibility for the bollard that had been filled with gravel.

The pipe, originally installed to hold a metal post to keep vehicles from entering the pathway, is adjacent to a sign welcoming visitors to the former lake bed. The parking lot and road that ends at the trailhead are maintained by the city of Mill Creek.

“The important thing here is eliminating the potential danger to people who use the trail to access the boardwalk,” Teigen told The Beacon. “We can worry about who is responsible at a later date.”

Teigen said the white paint that was applied to the pipe last week was probably done by a concerned neighbor.

County crews did not remove the concrete that holds the bollard in place, but did cut the portion of pipe that was above ground level and covered the area with gravel.

Political activist Mike the Mover (his legal name) lives less than a half-mile from the entrance to the park. He said that he called both he city and county regarding the protruding pipe, but claims that the staff members he spoke with told him the hazard was the responsibility of the other government entity.

Mike the Mover said he has avoided injury during the 30 years he has operated his moving company, but hurt his hip and leg when he tripped on the bollard last month and fell backwards into the stone North Creek Park sign.

“There are literally hundreds of people out here every weekend walking their dogs,” he said. “I’ve seen mothers with babies in strollers who have been hung up by the pipe.”

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