KRKO towers toppled by vandals in Snohomish

by Rob Piercy, KING/KOMO

The group Earth Liberation Front is claiming responsibility for toppling two radio station towers in Snohomish County early Friday morning. The FBI is taking over the investigation.

The towers, owned by station KRKO and known as North Sound 1380, are located on Short School Road and 129th St. SE in the Lord's Hill Valley.

"What they used was a machine called an excavator, it has a front arm off the front end of the machine. They stole it out of the yard," Andy Skotdal, president and general manager of KRKO. "They went and attached it to the tower and pushed one of them over and pulled the other one down."

A sign left at the scene said the ELF was responsible. The North American Earth Liberation Front applauded the move.

"When all legal channels of opposition have been exhausted, concerned citizens have to take action into their own hands to protect life and the planet,” said Jason Crawford, spokesperson for the North American ELF press office.

Skotdal said he was surprised at the damage.

"What was surprising was the majority of the tall tower is laid out like a pancake, it's flattened all the way," said Skotdal. "There's quite a bit of destruction to the antenna system and it will probably take at least three months to get it back up and operational again."

The towers have been at the center of controversy for years. There are four towers currently at the location and there have been plans to build two more towers. Opponents have claimed that AM radio waves can harm people and wildlife.

More recently, nearby residents claim radio signals coming over home phone and intercom lines have increased since KRKO recently boosted its broadcasting power.

A sign reading 'WASSUP SNO CITY? ELFM can be seen through the fog at the site of two Everett, WA radio towers toppled by vandals.

"We went through a permitting process that lasted about nine years to build this project and there were 44 hearings and trial days where there was public testimony taken and some of that testimony was pretty angry. So, this is kind of more of the same," Skotdal said. "Really what it came down to it was visibility and whether or not people wanted to see a tower a half mile away."

Neighbors who spoke out during the fight to prevent the towers from being built say they don’t support the vandalism.

"We don't want them, but this is not the way to see them go,” said Lee Bennett.

The station is still broadcasting on a backup transmitter and it is going to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

article originally published at KING/KOMO.

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