Bridge failure, oil spill get emergency action from Burien City Council
By Jack Mayne
The Burien City Council on Monday night voted to have the city public works director to hire a company to figure out if a now closed and washed out bridge in the Boulevard Park neighborhood be fixed or torn down and replaced, as well as cleanup of a oil spill on Arbor Lake.
Arbor Lake is located in the far northeast of Burien, and the council approved an emergency hiring of a contractor to clean up the small lake.
The study session of the Council included only four of the seven regular members, with Councilmembers Berkowitz, Tosta and Edgar excused.
Bridge washed out
Washouts and closure of Peter Western Bridge, located at S. 116th Street between Military Road and 24th Ave S. was caused by heavy rainfall. The bridge is not supported by several of its columns and is in imminent danger of collapse and was closed to vehicles and pedestrians.
Burien Public Works Director Maiya Andrews asked and got Council approval to immediately hire a contractor to fix it or to tear it down.
Andrews said there is potential at least some financing of the repair could come from the state because the governor “is very likely to declare an emergency on this and that will allow us to seek federal emergency funds.” She estimated the city might have to pay about 20 percent of the repair cost, or about $1.4 million, and it could be the end of 2018 before a new bridge could be up and ready to handle traffic.
There has been a detour set up, Andrews said, but that is sending people through a five way stop intersection and that the area was backing up traffic “especially in the evening commute.”
She said it is a difficult one to repair because of “access to this bridge is really difficult” and its total collapse is a “real concern.”
Oil spill on lake
Andrews told the Council of the oil spill on Feb. 13 at Arbor Lake in northeast Burien. A consultant is attempting to also find out how much oil was spilled.
Normally, the city would have to get competitive bids, but state law does allow waiving the requirement for competitive bids.
Andrews said testing of the oil found it was not heating oil so probably is motor or hydraulic oil of some sort, and it could have been dumped or spilled into the small lake. She said there is “a good chance” the city won’t be able to find the source of the spill.
The four-member Councilmembers at the study session approved bypassing bids to get the cleanup done.
New City Manager
Burien Administrative Services Manager Angie Chaufty reminded the council it had hired Colin Baenziger Associates of Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, to find candidates for the city manager job vacated when Kamuron Gurol was fired and temporarily filled by Interim City Manager Tony Piasecki. Chaufty asked the Council “to discuss and identify the process they would like to use during the interview process,” adding that April 7 – 8 has been reserved for the interview process.
Baenziger said it would be difficult to find a perfect candidate but that the best would have experience as a city manager in the state and one who stays in a position for an extended time.
Mayor Lucy Krakowiak suggested each member have 20 minutes to interview candidates privately, and Baenziger agreed that was an appropriate amount of time and he said he thought through vetting of aspirants for the job would result in four or five candidates for members to interview.
Council also agreed that Piasecki should also interview the city manager candidates.
The Council schedule for finding the new city manager provides that by March 20, Baenziger and Associates will forward to the Burien Council candidate resumes, introductions, reference check results, and background and media archives check.
Then, by March 27, the Burien Council will select candidates for interviews, with finalist interviews on April 7 and 8.
The Council study session also interviewed applicants for appointment to the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP) advisory board and the Arts Commission. Final decisions will be make on those appointments at a meeting in March.
The Council also approved 4 – 0 the “refreshed” and updated logo (read that story here).