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Eric... Olsen. Got it. Thanks for the tip. We'd like to talk to your "architect friend" as well, Mr. Sanders. We'll be in touch soon.

Posted by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force | March 4, 2008 9:45 AM

There are plenty of real Green homes in Bellevue and Mercer Island. Bill Gates has a thirty thousand square foot home that is completely carbon neutral.

I have a friend in North Seattle with a 5000 square foot S&M dungeon that was build completely Green.

These stupid goyium need something like the Rabbi's who certify Kosher food. Food is either Kosher or it is not, it's just that simple.

You can't let just anyone call themselves Green. Both the million dollar condo downtown, and the McMansion in the suburbs can't be green. I live in a green condo downtown, eat only Kosher organic food from Whole Foods, and take eco-vacations to Guatamala with my girlfriend. We even bring organic drinking water for on the flight down.

Environmental terrorists are likely Christian idiots who were molested by clergy as children. As a Jew I believe all terrorism must be denounced. Especially when it is so easy to live Green these days.

Only Urban city dwellers are saving the planet. The rest of Washington State is idiot rednecks causing global warming.

Posted by Issur | March 4, 2008 9:52 AM

I still think it was insurance fraud by someone.

However, the energy usage and global warming emissions from that lifestyle tends to imply the average (hah) person living in one of these megahouses will consume 10 to 20 times as much as the average person living in a typical house nearer to an urban center.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 4, 2008 9:52 AM

Issur, you're the best troll ever. Mazel tov.

Posted by Abby | March 4, 2008 9:53 AM

I likewise wondered about whether or not this was insurance-related, before hearing that interpretation from anyone else. Something just seems a little too perfect around this.

Posted by bookworm | March 4, 2008 9:58 AM

Insurance job was the first thing I thought of too.

Posted by I Got Nuthin | March 4, 2008 10:01 AM

I also believe it was an inside job, after I read this article. Group think ahoy!

Posted by Group Think | March 4, 2008 10:05 AM

Have we become so cynical that we don't even trust real estate developers?

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 10:07 AM

lol @8. who ever trusted real estate developers?

Posted by seattle98104 | March 4, 2008 10:10 AM

Am I the only one who supports the ELF's statement but is afraid of getting sent to Guantanamo? What a country we live in.

Obviously setting fires to empty houses isn't a good thing to do but it's not nearly as evil as these developers and (theoretical) housebuyers.

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 10:12 AM

i asked this yesterday in a comment but nobody replied.

remember when those town homes were being torched in west seattle, and everyone claimed insurance fraud?

could someone follow up on that? a trip to google only turned up articles from the initial fires and nothing about the status of those cases.

in other words, everyone may suspect insurance fraud in these cases, but do any of them end up being insurance fraud? the insurance companies must investigate, what do they find? did people get paid? did people get paid because it was proven to be arson or did people get paid because while the insurance co suspected fraud they couldn't prove it?

these are the kinds of questions that would make an interesting article or slog post, instead of just rampant speculation. there is enough of that in the comment thread as it is.

or we could just do nothing and then in a few years another home will get burnt and everyone will speculate insurance fraud.

Posted by some dude | March 4, 2008 10:16 AM

From the P.I.

The $1.9 million house, dubbed Copper Falls, had an alarm system, but Lockie said he turned it off because real-estate agents didn't want to set it off while they were showing the house.

I have no sympathy for whomever is responsible for the act. At this point in the investigation from what I have read the only thing that points to ELF is a spray painted sign.

Who stands to gain?

Posted by Bald Face Lie | March 4, 2008 10:16 AM

@12 - doesn't the fact that an ELF lookout is on trial for arson RIGHT NOW mean anything?

I don't know if it is some merry elves or a diabolical developer, but nobody seems to want to consider that it's possible that the timing the fire and the trial is anything more than coincidence.

Posted by some dude | March 4, 2008 10:20 AM

...used to live near the site...

...grew up in the area and still lives a few streets north...

eh, this sympathy seems a bit disingenuous. they both live(d) in the area? in houses that were how green? when you live in a nice neighborhood you don't want new development. you might even use "green" as an excuse.

it's like the new condo owner's complaining about a newer condo that will block their views. their complaints seem somewhat trite when they are living in a condo that probably blocked views when it was built.

Posted by infrequent | March 4, 2008 10:22 AM

I love the token "huge suburban houses." Because we all know there aren't any ostentations, overgrown McMansions in, say, Magnolia or Leschi or...

Posted by tomcat98109 | March 4, 2008 10:22 AM

@10, obviously not the only one, though the ELF's alleged "statement" is actually quite a bit more evil than that of real estate developers or homebuyers (one of the houses was supposedly being purchased). I don't get why it's evil to house people and why people's sympathies would be with the lunatics who burn property and risk lives. If they'd torched your car for being non-green, would you support their worthwhile cause? If they'd set fire to your family pet for being an obscene waste of resources, would that be justifiable? If these people only want press at any expense for their retarded cause, why not show they really have balls and burn themselves, like monks protesting war?

At least you graciously allow that burning down homes "isn't a good thing to do".

Posted by hmmm | March 4, 2008 10:23 AM

The problem with setting fires to houses is that you don't actually make a difference, you only galvanize people against your tactics and cause. anyone that owns a home would be more than mildly pissed off that someone burned their home because of some self righteous environmental crusade, and anyone that thinks that buying a home is more evil than destroying a home will have to explain the rationale behind that thought. on the face of it, it seems pretty stupid.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 10:27 AM

I still think it would be very easy for a disgruntled neighbor to completely misdirect people with an ELF tag. It would be no different than when Christian Slater underlined the word Eskimo in Heathers.

Posted by Trevor | March 4, 2008 10:28 AM

I wonder how much of the $2 million price tag is due to the home's "green" attributes.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 4, 2008 10:31 AM

Bellevue Ave, nothing says solvency like burning shit to the ground. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. We just don't talk about it.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 4, 2008 10:32 AM

I just can't condone arson. Somebody could get hurt.

Posted by Blacksheep | March 4, 2008 10:32 AM

Insurance fraud isn't so easy to get away with.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 10:34 AM

If ELF is going to use arson for self-promotion they shouldn't be tolerated/encouraged anymore than Fred Phelps and other extreme groups.

Posted by Jon | March 4, 2008 10:36 AM

@22 Especially not with national publicity. This story came to my inbox this morning again, via NY Times.

Posted by Katelyn | March 4, 2008 10:36 AM


If this was an ELF job, and not insurance fraud as many people suspect, then ELF has got to be one of the more inept environmental movements, ever. I mean, what of any use have they accomplished? Have they ever done anything that has resulted in any long term improvement of the environment, that changed government policy or public opinion? No. They are just a bunch of destructive anarchists wrapping themselves in a green blanket. They are as faux green as the developers that got torched.

There are any number of legit environmental groups: Sierra Club, Wilderness Coalition, Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, etc, etc, etc... None perfect, but all more effective than ELF ever dreamed of being.

I'm very pro-environment, but I have no use whatsoever for ELF and their tactics.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | March 4, 2008 10:39 AM

"but it says something about the animosity and cynicism some people feel toward developers of these huge suburban houses that this idea, and the above reactions, would come immediately to some people’s minds."

Wow, great way to start an unsubstantiated rumor.

A++ for spreading implied slanders against people as to whome there is not a shred of evidence of arson.

And that "animosity and cynicism some people feel toward developers" -- baloney.

More people love 'em becuase they buy up those houses.

Fact. I don't like those houses, you don't like them, but to suggest most people don't is fact driving not reporting.

Oh and if most people didn't like 'em?

Developers wouldn't build 'em, couldn''t get loans to finance them, and there wouldn't be a problem.

It's pretty lame to use property damage or other criminal ats to bring about change when you have the right o vote and things like that. Ghandi, MLK, all those folks would be AGHAST at the violence involved in arson, and also only violated laws nonviolently becuase they DIDN'T have a right to vote.

Arson is more likely to lead to fascism than to change we want, too, if you remember the Reichstag (sp?) fire of about 1933. It directly led to Hitler getting emergency power -- the other parties gave it to him !! -- that enabled him to totally take over.

Posted by unPC | March 4, 2008 10:42 AM

Ha ha ha ha ha. You green ecofreaks make me laugh. You've all mindlessly bought into the Lie of the Century. There is no "global warming!" Atmospheric gases, all of them, are responsible for 1% of the climate changes on Earth. In fact, we're in a fucking ICE AGE. The sun has stopped fusing hydrogen into helium (as can be easily detected by measuring neutrinos). Don't worry, though, this has happened before. Everything should be back to normal in, oh, 5-8,000 years. Until then, your precious "global warming" will, if anything, be a benefit to the planet.

Posted by Semolina Pilchard | March 4, 2008 10:46 AM

Finally some sensible commentators. ELF is a terrorist group and must be denounced.

The only justified destruction of homes is when righteous Israeli bulldozers root out the vermin Palestinians and their children. Every Palestinian home blown up or destroyed is a step towards Israel taking it's place as the world's shining light.

When idiot Christians destroy property of any type be it homes or new SUVs, these Christians must be forced to accept property laws.

I am glad Jewish writers at The Stranger have strongly denounced all forms of activism by the idiot goyium. If only people could understand that in Israel blowing up Palestinian homes is a righteous cause because Torah says the land belongs to the Jews.

In America the land belongs to whoever has the money to buy it. Property rights must always be respected.

Posted by Issur | March 4, 2008 10:46 AM

If ELF is behind this, they've got their head up their ass. Seattle has an urban growth boundary, which, as distasteful as these mansions may have been, they are well within. This is not wilderness, it's a suburb. ELF should be a lot more concerned about virtually every other land-hungry city in the nation that is chewing through farmland rather than picking on one of the few jurisdictions that is trying to do better. (That's part of the reason they cost $2 million: in a St. Louis or Atlanta or Houston suburb, they probably wouldn't even be half of that.)

Reminds me of the idiot WTO protesters who threw bricks through the windows of Starbucks (which at least sells organic products and provides health care to its employees) while leaving the earth-destroying McDonalds alone.

Posted by BIAW | March 4, 2008 10:46 AM

Yep, another idiotic move by the ELFers. None of these arsons (that's what they are) that I've read about ever turn out to be insurance fraud. Not saying it's impossible, but that's wishful thinking on the part of us environmentalists who wish there weren't lunatics out there doing much more harm than good.

Just like the idiots that blew up the UW horticulture lab. Regardless of what they thought UW was working on, or how much green-washing "sprawl" is just wrong, nothing justifies arson. Period.

It's one thing to commit civil disobedience by, for example, chaining yourself to the door of these houses to prevent people from going in. Or picketing the annual street of dreams tour, or whatever. But what the ELF does is nothing more than a crime tarted up as a political protest.

We don't accept the bombing of abortion clinics or shooting of OBs by pro-life nutjobs as valid, do we? Do we support their "death list" hit/target web sites? No, of course not. What the ELF is doing is exactly the same.

Posted by jcricket | March 4, 2008 10:46 AM

God damn elves. Nothing but trouble.

We should let the dwarves deal with them.

Posted by whatwhat | March 4, 2008 10:47 AM

It seems to me what they accomplished was to drive up the insurance cost of greenwashed buildings. So perhaps the phony green label is no longer the free goodwill it once was. If this means fewer fake green projects, or perhaps even more real green projects, then ELF won. Especially if nobody goes to gitmo.

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 10:48 AM

@2 - Could you please share the address of that S&M dungeon? Sounds Hot!

Posted by ChainMe | March 4, 2008 10:50 AM


or perhaps the message that any "green" project isnt worthy of pursuing. how do you figure there will be more "green" projects when the final arbiter of that would be ELF? to them there is no such thing as "green".

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 11:03 AM

The brick throwers were in large black ops, documented.

The agent provocateurs hosued by LIHI

Posted by Bald Face Lie | March 4, 2008 11:07 AM

"You're worth more dead than alive, George..."

Posted by DOUG. | March 4, 2008 11:13 AM
This is not wilderness, it's a suburb.

Take a look left of the arrow on this map (were this development was built) and then say it's not wilderness.,+wa&sll=47.804911,-122.050574&sspn=0.01006,0.020084&ie=UTF8&ll=47.801106,-122.074907&spn=0.01006,0.020084&t=h&z=16&iwloc=addr

If these developers and sprawl-buyers have their way, in a few years all of that green will be gone and replaced with this:,+bonney+lake,+wa&ie=UTF8&ll=47.170351,-122.170447&spn=0.00244,0.005021&t=h&z=18&iwloc=B

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 11:17 AM

at least 1 of the homes was BuiltGreen 5-star +. 70% more energy efficient than the WSEC requires. even though BuiltGreen is a Master Builders of King Co. program intended to stop the call for governments REQUIRING "green" building practices, it does real things that have changed the industry.

if the homes had gone farther, and were all zero-energy & carbon-neutral, would that have stopped ELF? would they have known?

Posted by max solomon | March 4, 2008 11:20 AM

I was going to comment on the story but the troll @27 cracked me up so much I forgot what I was going to say. I can't pick out the funniest bit of non-science - is it "the sun has stopped fusing hydrogen into helium" (gee, that would be an alarming development), "don't worry this has happened before" (Really? How long have we been measuring neutrino output from the sun? and solar H->He fusion has stopped and started before and that's no big deal? what a relief!) or "atmospheric gases, all of them, are responsible for 1% of climate change" (I think this was a confusing of climate change with the source of heating of the surface of the earth - 99.998% solar versus the rest geothermal? At any rate, climate modellers are pointing to human-introduced aerosols, not atmospheric gases, as causing climate change).

Oh, I really like the insistence that we are in an ige age currently (Boy, there's no way to disprove that whatsoever. Look at those glaciers approaching! Better head south!)!

Hilarious stuff. Kudos.

Posted by PeterF | March 4, 2008 11:32 AM

Bellvue, insurance risk isn't about certainties; there is no 'final arbiter'. It's about probabilities. A very high profile project like Street of Dreams that is very blatantly abusing the green label is going to look relatively risky. Especially if you have a whole block of empty houses with the alarms turned off.

So the insurer is going to ask whether your green labeling looks like a lightning rod and adjust accordingly. So they would either avoid the green label, or else make sure it was legit.

I should say... IF. If it works out as I've described, then ELF won. If the insurance companies don't care and the builders don't care, then ELF accomplished nothing.

It's one thing if the house itself is supposedly carbon neutral. You can bet that the owners will be commuting quite far for decades. Who adds the commute time to the carbon footprint?

And then of course, there's the runoff into the salmon runs, and the septic systems. Does "Built Green" take that into account? ELF seems to have done so.

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 11:34 AM

@12 - an alarm system that was intentionally turned off?

Oh, yeah, insurance fraud.

Hope they catch them and put them in the same jail cells as those ELF bastards.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 4, 2008 11:36 AM

Zoom out a bit, that's not "wilderness". It's green sure. But your arrow is about .5 km from a golf course and within 5 miles of hundreds of homes.

Posted by daniel | March 4, 2008 11:40 AM

#42: Oh cool. So let's pave over anything within 5 miles of houses, then pave over anything within 5 miles of those new houses, then repeat forever. According to you, there is no wilderness!

This is why they call it "sprawl." It SPRAWLS out into the nearby wilderness and destroys it forever.

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 11:45 AM

elenchos, i know what insurance about. this isnt about insurance; this about using the moniker of green, period. what is the point of using such a moniker if it will never satisfy a bunch of arsonists?

this is about incentives; what is the point of pursuing any sort of green attributes on a structure if it will not satisfy people willing to destroy it?

And would ELF be any less apt to destroy something even without the green moniker? evidence shows that they are not.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 11:50 AM

Environmentalists torched a new chalet in Vail a while back, and it didn't do any good. Two Elk, I believe? They built a larger one, completely out of logs, the damn thing looks like it took about a forest. And word on the street is that the resort made shitloads off of the arson. No progress made. If you're gonna burn down anything, burn down the developers house, otherwise its futile. I'm not saying, I'm just saying...

Posted by ZwBush | March 4, 2008 11:53 AM

Did anyone else think that the "ELF" grafitti - "Nope. They're black" - might refer sardonically to the color of the burned down buildings, not the quality of their environmentally responsive construction?

We're tossing around the label "green" as if it has some verifiable definition. I don't believe it has much scientific weight at all. It's merely a popular label for various techniques and materials that are sometimes included in construction. So how environmentally responsive were these buildings - anyone know?

Posted by orson | March 4, 2008 11:59 AM

Yes, dear.

If the builders and insurance companies think ELF is insane and there is no possible way to satisfy them, then this has no effect.

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 12:03 PM

#46: I think I have a verifiable definition.

"Green": Leaving green things alone.

"Not Green": Bulldozing down green things and replacing them with asphalt.

These buildings definitely qualify as Not Green.

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 12:08 PM

Does anyone here think that there is any way to satisfy ELF and still pursue the line of business of building homes?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 12:08 PM

When I was house-hunting, it was very common for a house to be alarmed (armed?) and for the agent to get the code from the computer system, or from the box they got the key from.

And I wasn't looking at high-profile, million dollar homes.

As for Street of Dreams, it's always been about tacky excess. Like an auto show.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | March 4, 2008 12:10 PM

does anyone think anything can satisfy ELF beyond a total regression of our entire society?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 12:14 PM

#49: Since "homes" is a marketing term for "gigantic ugly manufactured houses placed where there used to be forests and furry creatures, within easy driving distance of a brand new Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Home Depot," my guess is no.

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 12:14 PM

@48, do you live in a burrow?

Posted by hmmm | March 4, 2008 12:15 PM

why arent there more environmentalists going into ecological home building?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 4, 2008 12:17 PM

OK, smartass, if you know so much, explain why this winter has been the coldest winter, globally, in recorded history.

Posted by Semolina Pilchard | March 4, 2008 12:23 PM

#54, There are plenty of environmentalists who design buildings and houses. Look at all of the truly "green" buildings and houses in cities (including the suburbs).

There are no environmentalists who work for manufactured home companies because their mission is the antithesis of environmentalism.

Posted by not an eco-terrorist | March 4, 2008 12:26 PM

@54 they're already all employed as ecological home burners, apparently

and @55, we just recently have had a spate of recorded history's warmest summers, too - are you proposing that we go through ice ages every twelve months?

Posted by dbell | March 4, 2008 12:35 PM

a) These were not manufactured homes, and
b) Yes, in fact, manufactured homes can be eco-friendly. You should see what they get up to in Sweden.

Posted by Fnarf | March 4, 2008 12:51 PM

@55, There's no such thing as a "global winter" -- it's late summer in the Southern hemisphere right now. I'm not sure how you can qualify this past winter in the Northern hemisphere as the coldest on record, because I'm looking at paleoclimatic data at the National Climatic Data Center of the NOAA and, well, it isn't.

This winter for China may have been their coldest in 20 years, but this was a warmer winter than average in Canada, and February was the warmest in 100 years in Norway.

Other than that, great point.

Posted by PeterF | March 4, 2008 12:57 PM

You'd have to be deliberately obtuse to pretend you have no idea why these particular houses were targeted. Or to pretend you have no idea which ones will be next.

I suppose the official line will be that "anybody" could be next because these wacky terrorists are insane. But only a fool would bet their own money on that propaganda.

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 1:02 PM

As a Jew I stand against all forms of terrorism. Burning these homes dredges up painful memories of the pograms. Anytime a home is destroyed we as Jews must stand firm for justice.

Of course in blessed Israel, Palistinians structures must be pushed over by bulldozers because according to Torah the vermin living inside are not human. Only Jews have the right to destroy homes, if anyone else does it, then it is terrorism pure and simple.

Posted by Issur | March 4, 2008 2:16 PM

Oooh...more fuel for the fire (so to speak) for the anti-theory. Seattle Times is reporting that investigators have NOT found any evidence of the timed ignition devices that ELF has used in their previous acts. That, and the admission that the security cameras were turned off "because we didn't think they were needed".

I'm still keeping the insurance scam angle in the front of my mind!

Posted by MacBastard | March 4, 2008 2:28 PM

@#55 - um, so you've forgotten it was 65' in New York this January?

How convenient.

Posted by Colton | March 4, 2008 2:42 PM

Earth Liberation - change we can believe in (for fucking serious)

Posted by johnnie | March 4, 2008 2:53 PM

Semolina Pilchard, if that IS your real name, surely you are not literal-minded enough to think that climate change is all about "global warming".

Some parts will get warmer, some will get colder. The point is that the climate is changing and it's caused by human activity.

Even if it weren't caused by humans, we still need to try to do something to counteract it.


Posted by catalina vel-duray | March 4, 2008 3:05 PM

A couple of clients live out that way.

They think the foundations were probably sinking.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | March 4, 2008 3:59 PM

Nearly every new apartment/condo development I see in Seattle (Ballard, Belltown, the units on Denny at Dexter, etc.) includes "green" in the description. I hope The Stranger looks at the design plans and determines how much greenwashing is going on with these construction projects. I'm betting that there isn't a major difference between these projects and similar projects from 4 years ago, before "green" was the new "black" (or whatever).

Posted by Steve | March 4, 2008 11:04 PM

I know it's unsubstantiated as of yet and all, but I also call insurance fraud. Eco-terrorists using an acronym for "rural cluster developments" on a graffiti? Seriously?

Posted by k | March 5, 2008 5:50 AM

Obviously, I get the last word. Just as obviously, there are no Beatles fans here, or else they might have heard "I Am the Walrus" once or twice.

Posted by Semolina Pilchard | March 7, 2008 12:00 PM

I'm not sure the elfers use the most effective ways to promote environmentalism, and certainly not ones that are legal, but I would guess it is in part to a feeling of powerlessness at unrestrained growth. This may not justify these illegal acts but it does point to a failure in our society to not destroy the environment.

There is lots of debate on here about whether a development is green. We shouldn't look at the small trends in development and ask whether they are "green" (a meaningless term for sure) and look at things on a larger scale. American urban development is based around making money and so this imperative wastes little care on the environment it affects. As long as money is more important than our long term future, things like global warming and sprawling development will continue. I don't think illegal action needs to take place to enter this into the debate but we need to debate this none the less.

On a side note, the zionist who keeps calling for Palestinian pogroms needs to get his or her head checked. That is just plain racist and dumb.

Posted by enviro | March 9, 2008 4:04 PM

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