Incident Summary:

05/21/2001: Five members of the Animal and Earth Liberations Fronts (ALF and ELF), William Rodgers, Justin Solondz, Briana Waters, Jennifer Kolar, and Lacey Phillabaum, used timed incendiary devices to set arson to Merrill Hall, housing the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington in the United States. The arson destroyed the building due to extensive interior damage, and the entire structure and its contents sustained extensive heat, charring, smoke, and water damage. The total property loss was $3,312,434. There were no casualties in the incident. The perpetrators sent out a communique, claiming the incident in the name of ELF, and stating that they targeted the office of Professor Bradshaw, where remnants of one incendiary were found, because of his research on the genetic engineering of poplar trees, and admitted that the attack was coordinated with the arson at Jefferson Poplar Farms in Oregon a few hours earlier on the same day (521012). The perpetrators were part of a group calling themselves "The Family," which committed nearly 20 arson and ecotage attacks over a 6 year period.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
at the Horticulture Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Educational Institution
Name of Entity University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture
Specific Description office of Professor Bradshaw at Merrill Hall, housing the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage $3,312,434.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
Five-gallon containers filled with gasoline and electronic timers
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The incident occurred at about 3:20 a.m. and was one in a series of two attacks on this day. The second was an arson at Jefferson Poplar Tree Farm in Oregon, just a few hours earlier. The perpetrators were part of a group calling themselves "The Family, "which was made up of members of both ELF and ALF, and various combinations of members from the group committed nearly 20 arson and ecotage attacks over a 6 year period. William Rodgers was arrested for his involvement in this and other incidents with The Family, but he committed suicide in his jail call while awaiting transport; Justin Solondz remained fugitive as of 2008; Briana Waters was sentenced to six years in prison, Jennifer Kolar was sentenced to five years in prison, and Lacey Phillabaum to three years in prison, for their respective roles in this incident.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) The Family No
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) The Family Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Letter)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 5
Number of Captured Perpetrators 4
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
U.S. Government's Sentencing Memorandum for CR 06-60069, CR 06-60070, CR 06-60071, CR 06-60078, CR 06-60079, CR 06-60080, CR 06-60120, CR 06-60122, CR 06-60123, CR 06-60124, CR06-60125, and CR 06-60126. U.S. District Court: District of Oregon, Eugene, 2007.
FBI, "Terrorism 2000/2001,"FBI, DOJ, 2001.
Paul Shukovsky, "3-Year Prison Term for Arson at UW/ Activist Apologizes:' I acted as a bully and a tyrant,'" Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 20, 2008.