An ‘Emergency Special Meeting’ of the Burien City Council was held Thursday night, Jan. 16, 2020, to discuss recent pollutant test results taken at the Burien Annex, which was scheduled to close Jan. 31, evicting seven non-profits.

The meeting started at 7 p.m., and no public comment was allowed.

Before moving into the first of two Executive Sessions, new Councilmember Kevin Schilling asked if the council could discuss the issue in public. Mayor Jimmy Matta asked interim City Attorney Kari Sands about this, and she recommended that, since the results involve “potential litigation against the city,” it needed to be done in a private, Executive Session, which the council took at 7:14 p.m.

Around 8:33 p.m., council returned and resumed discussing the issue.

Scott Parker of Tarracon (pictured), a Kansas-based geotechnical firm with an office in Seattle, said that the company’s test results showed no immediate dangers to tenants of the 1948-era building, either via asbestos in floor tiles, lead in the water, or mold.

After much discussion that weighed the merits of the value of the non-profits staying in this location versus the risks of allowing them to remain in a potentially dangerous, decaying old building, a second Executive Session was held to discuss what their monthly rent should be. The amendment that inspired that session was later tabled by Councilmember Krystal Marx.

Long story short: after more than three hours of discussion, motions, amendments and two Executive Sessions, the council voted unanimously to direct City Manager Brian Wilson to authorize repairs of the Burien Annex of costs up to $25,000, working with tenant’s schedules, and with a focus on first remediating any immediate “life safety” issues.

The seven non-profits (Burien Actors Theater, Transform Burien, Burien Coop Preschool, Para los Niños, Meals on Wheels, Journey Arts & Crafts, and the Hi-Liners) can now stay in the Annex until July 31, 2020, and the city will start to make repairs based on the most important ones.

Read our extensive previous coverage here.

Here’s a video report from KOMO News: