By Jack Mayne

Potential public market, or mercado, sites are being considered by the Burien City Council and some new site possibilities were given at their regular Monday (Aug. 5) meeting.

Council heard Economic Development Director Chris Craig give several options for sites for location of a mercado in the city that have been shown to potential operators.

In other business, the Council was asked not to leave the Sea-Tac Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART) as the Burien Airport Committee and close observers have suggested.

Mercado potentials
Council was told there are two smaller sized outdoor market potential properties in the Boulevard Park area, one just over an acre and the other less than an acre. Craig also noted that the former Staples retail site could be developed for a multi-stall inside market.

A fourth site could be the city-owned municipal parking lot at SW 151st and 6th Ave SW downtown. It is three quarters of an acre in size with parking available. The space is also used sometimes for community events so the market and events would have to manage time allotments.

There is also a Seattle City Light owned property at SR 509 and 136th Street that is planned for a new substation. The utility “expressed an openness” to temporary location of a market and it is researching what price it would charge a market operator and how long before the construction the substation is built. Craig said further discussions with City Light would be needed.

The Port, King County and the Southside Alliance of other nearby cities, have also been asked to check for potential market sites.

Mayor Jimmy Matta said that Burien and the south of Seattle area need an international market and so discussion needs to continue with a variety of proponents to come up with a location.

During public comment time, Saida Rojas (pictured, right), who represents a group interested in forming a community mercado in the Burien area, thanked the city for its work to help find a market location.

“We just want to share our stories, our history, the things that we do, our wonderful products too, we have some great stuff that we sell, and wanted to take a second to say thank you.”

SCORE jail report
City Manager Brian J. Wilson introduced to the Council the executive director of the south county jail. Devon Schrum (pictured, left) is the executive director at ScORE, the South Correctional Entity. SCORE is a jail in Des Moines that serves the confinement needs of six member cities and a number of contract agencies. It started with seven cities, but Federal Way dropped out.

SCORE is a misdemeanor jail close to dense woods, homes and schools on 16 acres in Des Moines.

Schrum told councilmembers she is nearing her first anniversary heading the jail and her first year meant some increased costs that the facility is working to control, including cutting overtime that was primarily due to lack of full staffing, but vacancies are now being filled.

Another reason that allowed for cutting costs over time was a “mid shift for peak business hours” which she said has “dramatically reduced our overtime usage which is down 30 percent over the previous year.”

Schrum said a group was created to “analyze our funding model” that was made up of police chiefs and finance managers from all member cities “that came up up with several key strategies” to control spending. Now, she said “we’ve fully accounted for Federal Way leaving” the consortium and “we are able to reduce our member city contributions for 2020 as well.”

In answer to a question from Councilmember Pedro Olguin, Schrum said SCORE is not honoring ICE incarcerations unless there is an active warrant “from one of our cities or some other type of warrant.”

Stay with StART
Dave Kaplan (pictured, left), local governments relations manager for the Port of Seattle, and former Des Moines mayor and councilmember, asked the Council not to leave the Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART), as the Burien Airport Committee and close observers have suggested.

“We believe more is accomplished by being engaged working to resolve issues of concern rather than excluding yourselves from the conversation.” He added that Burien’s participation on the stakeholder round table “has resulted in the late-night noise limitation program which began on July 1st and the soon to be finalized runway use agreement that limits the use of the third runway during late night hours and agreement to change the glide slope to at least three degrees on long runways.”

The changes were possible only because Burien and other surrounding cities had advocated for them.

Resident Marty Kooistra, executive director of the Housing Development Consortium, thanked the Council for continuing the suite of tenant protection laws necessary in the entire area. He said there is information soon to be released that “in the last decade in King County, households earning between zero and 80 percent area medium income — low, very low, extremely low income households, that the area has “had a net loss of 93,000 homes.”

“We all have to figure out how to change the dynamic that plagues us not only here but on the West Coast and around the country. Affordable housing is essential,” Kooistra said.

Resident Omaha Sternberg asked the Council to create an affordable housing committee that would create a “specific set of measurable goals with time frames that are then passed by the City Council and included in the comprehensive plan.”

Peter Western Bridge
Burien Public Works Director Maiya Andrews said the bridge reconstruction contract has been awarded to Hamilton Construction for $4,590,000, the lowest of a “sizable number of bidders,” and “sightly higher than our budget.”

As we previously reported, in February, 2017, the ravine below the 67-year old structure experienced severe erosion caused by a strong winter storm, significantly damaging the bridge’s support columns. The erosion undermined the structural integrity of the bridge, and the City closed it. The creek running through the ravine also moved, causing further erosion.

Hamilton told the city they want to begin construction before the end of August and notices have been sent to adjacent property owners. Andrews said the work should be completed before the end of 2020.

Mayor Matta said he wanted the city to keep an eye on Hamilton Construction regarding change orders and “making sure the people are being paid the living wage. Let’s just leave it at that, make sure we keep an eye on that.”

‘Commander’s Award’
Police Chief Ted Boe honored Burien Police Sergeant Chad Myers with the “Commander’s Award” for his service to the people of the city and the many positive programs he has started and mentored for youth in the city.

Myers is leaving Burien Police to lead the King County Sheriff’s Department Gang Unit later this month, Boe said. The Burien Police Department is a contracted service from the King County Sheriff’s office.