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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘So Where Have the Ambaum Trees Gone, Again?’

Have you noticed that a number of the trees along Ambaum Blvd. have been taken down again?

For a city project that generated a great deal of citizen complaint and anxiety and in part resulted in the firing of the Director of Public Works/Larry Blanchard, the City Manger/Mike Martin and the new Director of Public Works/Maiya Andrews failed to notice what is happening on Ambaum. A number of the new trees that were supposed to replace the 96 trees that had been cut down in November, 2010 were vandalized and broken this last weekend. Additionally, several bus and traffic signs on Ambaum were also damaged and destroyed.  At the time the city intended to cut down the trees, a number of citizens commented this was not only the wrong thing to do, but even provided alternative solutions with new technology sidewalk replacement ideas.

When Mr, Martin was asked at this last Monday’s city Council meeting what happened to the trees on Ambaum, he and several of the council members claimed that they were unaware of anything happening on Ambaum. This speaks volumes to the lack of attention that council members and the city staff pay to what is actually happening in the city. It seems that they do not even drive through the city on a regular basis. Probably the three lots in Town Square and Area Y are consuming all of their attention but Ambaum is a main street in Burien. So when we hear that all is well in the city or that the city manager is simply reporting on what is going on in the community or reporting on what the community is really thinking, it raises some questions as to whether he or the council really knows what is going on in the community.

Ambaum from 148th north to the city boundary-by the way the city boundary line is marked incorrectly with the new White Center boundary sign and is riddled with gang graffiti. Also, city staff has made no active effort to see to the removal of that graffiti which is in violation of the city ordinance. Maybe they haven’t seen that either.

So what has happened to the trees that the residents were promised would replace the 96 trees that were cut down on Ambaum? Perhaps this is part of that special city police model where Burien doesn’t report and spend money and resources on non-necessary crime issues in the community. If a citizen or visitor to the city sees the broken trees and traffic signs then that is only their perception that crime exists in Burien because no one in the city has bothered to document or admit it happened.

The lack of attention to the missing Ambaum trees, the decline in services and the lack of attention to citizen concerns, suggests that all is not well in Burien. Perhaps the damage to these trees-senseless as it is-speaks volumes to citizens frustration with the city and its lack of attention and services for citizens?

P.S. The sign at Dottie Harper Park has been destroyed also. Has anyone on the city staff noticed?

– Debi Wagner

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