Story & Videos by Scott Schaefer
On Monday night (April 9), around 140 people packed into Burien City Hall for a Town Hall on Youth Engagement and Community Safety, held by the City.
The meeting was part of an ongoing response to the tragic March 28 shooting deaths of two teenage girls in what police say was a gang related crime.
Guests were invited to join small discussion groups of around 10 people to discuss the following questions:
- What ideas do you have to engage youth in the community?
- For the youth in the room, how would you like to be involved in the community?
- What ideas do you have to enhance community safety?
- What other suggestions do you have to enhance quality of life in Burien?
City Manager Brian Wilson served as host, and Mayor Jimmy Matta, along with Councilmembers Austin Bell, Krystal Marx, Pedro Olguin and Nancy Tosta were also in attendance.
Not present were Bob Edgar and Lucy Krakowiak.
Wilson explained the ground rules (“Listen actively,” “Speak from experience,” etc.) which were posted on the walls as well as handed out to each attendant.
Recreation Manager Casey Stanley spoke about the City’s youth programs, and Interim Police Chief Marcus Williams spoke about crime, saying that Part 1 violent crimes are down versus the same period of 2017.Â He also indicated that the ongoing investigation into the shooting deaths is making progress, but didn’t reveal any details.
Also on hand was Highline Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield, along with some of the management and residents of Alturas apartments, as well as a diverse cross-section of residents, including numerous youth.
The meeting â€“ which was proposed by the city council â€“ ran from 7 p.m. until a little after 9 p.m. Discussion groups started around 7:20 p.m. and continued until 8, then a spokesperson(s) from each group got up and told the rest of the room their group’s top answers/concerns.
The meeting went smoothly for most of the night, but at one point toward the end a man in the back of the room interrupted a woman who was speaking about gangs â€“ apparently saying that she wouldn’t report them â€“ and shouted at her that “she was part of the problem” before holding up a photo â€“ apparently of his own injuries at the hand of a gang-related attack â€“ before leaving the meeting (this can be seen in video #3 at around the 48:00 mark).
Here are two raw videos from our live Facebook feed: