by: David Ham Updated:
SEATTLE - Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will soon start restoring the land destroyed by the so-called "Moleman."
"The ground has been disturbed fairly significantly," said Mark Mead, Seattle Parks and Recreation.
Neighbors who live near Cheasty Boulevard South said they've complained about the so-called "Moleman," also known as James, who has dug extensive ditches in the environmentally protected Cheasty Greenspace.
They believe he's lived in the park for at least four years.
"This is not the first time we have asked this individual to leave," said Williams.
Ed Newbold said the man is ruining some of the city's wetlands.
"They believe he's a vet and this is where he lives and hangs out," said Mead.
"They are ignoring their own responsibility as stewards of this land to do something about it," said Newbold.
Acting Parks Director Christopher Williams toured the three acres of park land impacted by the digging for the first time on Thursday.
"I'm just blown away that one individual could move that much earth without heavy equipment," said Williams.
On Wednesday, officials from Seattle Parks and Recreation were in the wooded area across from the Jefferson Golf Course looking for James so they could give him a no-trespass order.
They are still searching for him.
However, they have posted signs saying they will be removing all belongings left in the area.
Williams said inmates from the DOC will start to help with the cleanup effort on Friday morning.
They'll start picking up debris in the area, then the tunnels and ditches will need to be filled in.
"There's actual structural damage done to the earth, this is a steep slope, this is a hillside -- the level of damage makes us concerned about the stability of the slope," said Williams.
He estimated it will cost about $60,000 for the restoration work.
The city is also working with the Veterans Affairs Department and Social Services to try and help James find another place to live.
"This individual needs help and we need to make sure he gets the help he needs," said Williams.