It was good to see the Seattle Times report today on the battle pitting the rich vs. the rich in Laurelhurst, including the commandeering of public land next to Waterway 1 by Bill Gates' sister. As the Times noted, "fights over this tiny bit of land, intended to provide public access to Lake Washington, have so far generated a police report over an alleged wrongful hedge chopping, engagement of at least one lawyer to take on the encroachers, and uncounted staff time invested by the city and state to sort out the mess." Of course, those details aren't new to Seattle Weekly readers. We revealed them.
As we reported last year:
A 20-year-long park-encroachment dispute involving Bill Gates' former bachelor pad in filthy-rich Laurelhurst--sparking brazen pruning-shear raids on Gates' sister's hedge, calls to the cops and the hiring of attorneys--is about to be resolved by state officials, though not necessarily ended.
The Department of Natural Resources says it is finishing up lease agreements with two landowners that will grant them partial rights to the rectangular, state-owned public parkland known as Waterway No. 1, a mostly filled-in historic ferry landing, along the Lake Washington waterfront. Yet resident and opponent Kate Lloyd, for one, says the new permits will still block access to the public's land and "authorize a large dock that restricts access to Waterway 1 for kayakers and wildlife, and causes pollution problems."
Lloyd, an artist married to a chiropractor, undertook the unauthorized pruning of an overlapping 10-foot hedge bordering the shoreline property of Gates' wealthy sister Libby Armintrout and husband Doug (a Lloyd accomplice is described as "a little granny"). Doug Armintrout wrote a letter to the local community club, saying "Kate's [hedge-clip] act was not only extremely offensive, it was criminal," but took no further action.
The Armintrouts own the $3.6 million 43rd Ave. N.E. home where Bill Gates lived until he married and moved up in 1994 to a somewhat nicer home--worth roughly $150 million--in Medina. The dispute has raged since, until the state moved in and effectively settled it last year.
That's the essence of the Times story today. We're happy to give them credit--as we scrupulously do daily on this blog--even if it is, ahem, for our reporting.