Gordon Shaw Exits Council, Warns About Costs Of Not Annexing North Highline

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by Ralph Nichols

As Gordon Shaw departs from the Burien City Council today (Monday, Jan. 9), he looks back with conviction at his “major accomplishment” as a councilman – and warns of the costs of not annexing unincorporated North Highline.

“Helping get Mike Martin hired as city manager [in 2007] is the best thing I did,” Shaw told The B-Town Blog. “Overall, Mike is bringing forward-looking ideas to council members for their consideration and is putting Burien on sounder footing than it was before.”

Martin replaced former City Manager Gary Long and, said Shaw, “if I had the chance to do it over, I’d hire him again. The city council and city manager have a better working relationship today, and that’s good for Burien.”

Another key effort by Shaw during his eight years on the city council, which remains a work in progress, is the inclusion of Burien businesses in the Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) under the flight path north of Sea-Tac International Airport.

This land, owned by the Port of Seattle, is in Burien. Shaw has been quietly working for development of an auto center there just off State Route 518. This would give car dealers on First Avenue South a lot more space that could become a sales magnet for the region.

Shaw called locating an auto center and other Burien businesses in NERA, where the Port will develop air cargo support services, “a vital link for economic development in Burien.

“I’m encouraged with the progress of discussions and believe the city and the Port will reach a mutually beneficial development agreement.”

Gordon Shaw getting dunked during a recent fundraiser.

Turning his attention to the major decision facing the city council as a new year begins – annexation – Shaw noted that “opponents of making the White Center area part of Burien are concerned about the cost.”

One of those opponents, Bob Edgar, defeated him in his bid for election to a third term on the city council last November.

“In the long run, and it won’t take that long,” Shaw said, “the costs to our city will be a lot more if we fail to annex North Highline – especially if Seattle ends up annexing the area – because of higher crime just north of Roxbury.”

Currently, criminal activity in this area of south Seattle, a consequence of limited police resources there due to budget constraints, spills over into White Center where it is largely contained by King County Sheriff’s deputies, he continued.

“But if Seattle ends up annexing the area, that crime will take root in White Center and spill into the existing North Burien, and that will cost Burien taxpayers a lot more as they pay more for increased police services without the additional North Highline tax base,” Shaw added.

“In my estimation, this would make it necessary for Burien to hire four or five additional police officers, which would cost the city about $600,000 to $750,000 including their cars and other equipment.”

Shaw agrees that the costs of annexation present a major challenge for Burien – especially with the threatened elimination of the state’s annexation sales tax credit – and said he still opposes annexation without state help.

“The city council entered into this annexation process with the understanding that state help was there, and without that assistance it just doesn’t make sense.”

He hopes, however, that the city will continue with the annexation process and then, if necessary, put the final step on hold while new funding sources are found to pay for bringing the area into Burien without increasing the tax burden on current residents.

Another key aspect of annexation that gets lost in the debate, Shaw added, is the available land in North Highline that would give Burien needed room for the development of additional commercial activity including light industry.

“These vacant areas are critical for the economic future of Burien. And this includes a lot more than just White Center. The South Park area with its developed infrastructure is a prime location for light industry,” he said. “But if we lose them now, they’re gone forever.”

Shaw, a lifelong Burien resident and businessman, joined the city council in January 2004 and served two terms. Before that, he was a long-time member of the city’s planning commission.

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9 Responses to “Gordon Shaw Exits Council, Warns About Costs Of Not Annexing North Highline”
  1. Kat says:

    Wow, bring a drunk to run the town is his major accomplishment? Now he wonders why he wasn’t re-elected?

    Gorden you are a nice man but really get a clue.

    • Neil says:

      Agree with you Kat. This is the same city manager that went 500k overbudget on a small strip of repavement work on Ambaum. This is the man who will oversee a $70 million dollar budget to rebuild the infrastructure in White Center if god forbid we annex.

  2. Debi Wagner says:

    Councilmember Shaw says it will cost an additional 750,000 for police services if Seattle annexes area Y. But Burien budgeted an additional a 3.1 million increase in their contract with King County for police services for the annexation which is still over one and a half million short of what King County paid for those services to area Y in 2009. Funny how now there’s a crystal ball to see crime in white center getting worse in the future if Seattle annexes the area. But nobody had one to foresee the tax credit going away or the property depreciating by 17%.

  3. william Forest says:

    Shaw is full of the same old BS that got him kicked out of office.. Everything he says in this article is a half truth with no basis in actual reality..

  4. Pat says:

    Great, we get rid of the (FIXER) and things are going to get worst, well the whole mess over the Former Mayor running illegl water lines out of the district,which Shaw did the fixing on was such a great thing, Lets see one Water District Commissioner resigned, one water district Manager ‘s contract not renewed. great accomplishment. To many behind the scene’s deals going on, meeting without openness,( sorry not much good at spelling). I wonder if this current City Manager is good for Burien?? How come the sign law was never brought up to date? Hiring people to be Code inforcement Officers with no training or background in the field, giving out notices for CODE VIOLATIONS that do not really exists, stealing yes I said stealing people’s signs, without going thru the proper procedure, these help get Mr. Shaw un-elected. I hope you have a wonderful time and maybe during your months living in Australia you might get Mike a wonderful job there, just saying that would be a great accomplishment!!!!!

  5. KATHY says:

    Come on…when I look at blockwatch crime reports, I happen to notice more crime in south of me in Burien rather than White Center. Burien you do not deserve to have such a great neighborhood added to your city.

    • william forest says:

      Cathy if you feel that way then PLEASE vote against annexation.. I am sure you will be much happier with Seattle.

      Its ridiculous to claim that Burien has more crime than white center.

      Bottom line is its NOT about the social civic make up of the white center population which the pro annexation gang is fixated on. I never hear you address the economics of this proposal.
      Its really all about whether Burien can AFFORD to annex white center which cannot pay its own way. Its simple economics.. Its a real puzzle to me WHY this is so difficult for you to understand?

  6. elizabeth2 says:

    Quoting Mr. Shaw…..
    “But if Seattle ends up annexing the area, that crime will take root in White Center and spill into the existing North Burien, and that will cost Burien taxpayers a lot more as they pay more for increased police services without the additional North Highline tax base,” Shaw added.”

    Oh, please, Mr. Shaw. This is based on what factual evidence? Are you in touch with the criminals now lurking around the north of Roxbury as to their 5 Year Plan?

    You lost, so let us have you leave in peace and quiet without trying to frighten all the residents.

  7. Danthedog says:

    Good bye Gordon have a great retirement

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