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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City buys South Hill property illegally bulldozed in 2017

UPDATED: Fri., June 8, 2018

The area where a contractor illegally bulldozed a road into the South Hill bluff area in April is seen on Friday, June 9, 2017, after the firm Land Expressions completed planting trees in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
The area where a contractor illegally bulldozed a road into the South Hill bluff area in April is seen on Friday, June 9, 2017, after the firm Land Expressions completed planting trees in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nick Deshais The Spokesman-Review

The City of Spokane’s Parks Department has closed on the sale of 50 acres of private land abutting the popular trails of the South Hill’s bluff.

The land was purchased as part of a settlement agreement related to the 2017 bulldozing of an illegal road, when dozens of trees and a mile-long road was scraped into the hillside, angering users and advocates for the open space.

The purchase price of $270,000 was negotiated with the family of Randall Bracher, which owns the only private piece of land where a contractor carved a road intended to provide utility access for the construction of a now-abandoned par-3 golf course nearby.

In June 2017, Avista, working with the city, led restoration efforts at the 1.3-mile stretch of rogue road. Dirt was replaced and 900 small sapling “plugs” were planted, at a cost of $20,000 for the restorative work.

The Brachers also received a $180,000 settlement to close out all their legal claims against First Tee, the nonprofit organization behind the plans for the golf course; Swedberg Contracting Corp., the builders of the road; and Avista Corp., which planned to use the access road to perform work on power lines in the area. First Tee agreed to pay $85,000 of the settlement, Swedberg will pay $75,000 and Avista $20,000.

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