Ban dangerous construction processes; CARES: ‘more dogs getting back home’


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By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council was asked at Monday (March 19) night’s meeting to consider ordinances outlawing abuses by construction companies using processes that “shamelessly” abuse workers on projects within the city.

Community speakers at the council meeting asked during its public comment period about requests to consider limiting certain construction processes that were said to be dangerous to largely Latino and other non-English speaking workers.

The Council also heard the annual report of the city’s Community Animal Resource & Education Society (CARES), and were told that it had improved and expanded capacity to provide animal control services

Workers in danger
Coriño Barragan Talancon wanted to speak “to the point of responsible contracting” in support of construction workers that spoke previously in the public comment section.

“I have helped primarily Latino immigrant workers with a type of abuses,” primarily on construction projects, she said. “The majority of the abuses I see are wage theft, and not being able to take breaks, things like that.”

She said she has heard stories about the use by construction companies of “cables that can rip a man in half if they split.” The companies “shamelessly offer incentives to bring in more vulnerable workers who are least likely to speak out about these abuses.”

Barragan Talancon wanted the city to “look into this matter seriously because, not only are the workers affected, but the city’s governments are affected.”

“When companies steal from the workers, they steal from the coffers for taxes that can be used for services that the community greatly needs.” She wanted the city to work to prevent theft from workers and placing them in dangerous positions and “think that they can get away with those type of incentives to bring in more vulnerable workers.

Burien should consider a city ordnance to stop the abuses, to prevent some lives from being lost, she added.

Also during the comment period, Council heard from Candy Turner (pictured, legt), who works in Olde Burien.

“We’re having issues with parking” because there are only 18 parking spots on the street to support 29 businesses in those two blocks, with five locations empty. Of those locations, there are 6 restaurants, “a couple of hair salons” and several of the businesses have on-site parking,” she said.

“We are looking for some help to resolve the parking issues,” Turner said. “Burien does to have the business come in but … there are not enough spots to support all the people that live in other areas that enjoy the restaurants, maybe getting a haircut….”

Dogs find their homes
Debra George gave the Council a quick look at their agency’s 2017 annual report for Burien CARES, which has provided animal control services since 2011. The City recently approved a five year contract with them for the period 2018 – 2022.

The city said in its agenda that “over the past several years, CARES has improved and expanded their capacity to provide animal control services, including more shelter space, intakes, and adoptions.” George showed a phone log for the year which showed fewer barking dog reports than in previous years, but there were 49 dogs biting humans, a few more than in previous years.

She noted that there were 104 “owner surrendered” dogs last year, up considerably over previous years and 269 strays picked up by the agency but 177 lost dogs were returned to their owners – a “record number,” George said. “That is a 65 percent average, that is unheard of,” said George, “the national average is 30-35 percent,” which she attributed to the fact that CARES is in Burien and prepared to react quickly. In addition, there were 202 dogs adopted

Slightly fewer cats came into CARES in 2017 with 328 felines as strays or brought in by their owners and 267 cats were adopted.

The agency spent $44,000 at local Burien veterinarians and earned nearly $17,000 from pet license sales and George said the non-profit facility provided 4,000 pounds of pet food to White Center Food Bank and to low income residents using its approximately 120 volunteers.

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