Concern grows as homeless man who dug up Seattle park with excavator now has cabin built

The man who is facing criminal charges for digging up the hillside inside Dr. Joze Rizal Park with an excavator back in October is now building a cabin.

"I’ve now moved five times," said Steve Irwin. "I’m tired, you know? Once I get close to building something, something happens."

Irwin spoke with FOX 13 Saturday about his plans to continue building his home inside the park. He said he sees nothing wrong with what he’s doing, even admitting to using heavy machinery to clear trees a few months ago.

While some people also see no harm in what he's doing, environmental advocates continue to sound the alarm.

"This is trespassing. This is vandalism. This is destroying a public trail that’s intended for all to use," said Andrea Suarez with We Heart Seattle.

Suarez told FOX 13 she has made multiple efforts to get Irwin help.

"Just today I brought him sneakers," she said. "We’ve offered him work, housing, but he’s fixated on this ‘cabin in the woods.’"

Back in October, Seattle police responded to Rizal Park after neighbors called 911 to report Irwin was driving an excavator into a grove of trees. Police arrested him, and he was taken to jail and then released.


Residents incensed after man destroys Seattle park with stolen excavator

People living near Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood are upset after part of their beloved park was ripped up with a stolen excavator.

"Since then, he’s just continued to destroy the park," said Suarez. "Where is accountability? Where is the mayor’s office? Park stewards have had thousands of hours of their volunteer work undone?"

Recently, Seattle Parks and Recreation paid $15,000 to repair the damage caused by Irwin and the excavator. The incident involving the heavy machinery had him charged with property destruction.


Encampment returns to Seattle park after city pays $15K to fix damages

It appears the man who stole and drove an excavator through a Seattle park is back at it, trying to supposedly expand a homeless encampment.

"He’s just getting away with this and then there’s the safety concern," added Suarez.

Video shows Irwin’s cabin has multiple sources of fuel inside the park.

"He has gasoline, propane, kerosene. He has open air fires," said Suarez. "This is a ticking time bomb."

Concerned about the future of the park, Suarez is urging city agencies, including the mayor’s office, to step in.

FOX 13 reached out to the mayor’s office for comment. We even sent photos of the sprawling cabin. We’ve yet to hear back.