By Jack Mayne

The City of Burien will be getting $780,000 from the state, with $380,000 earmarked for small Burien businesses as relief from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Burien City Manager Brian Wilson told the Council at its regular virtual session on Monday night (Oct. 5) that the federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” the “CARES Act,” has provided the city, via the state, with a second round of money.

Direct economic help
This federal legislation was passed to “provide fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries … The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries.”

Burien businesses to get the grants must be commercial enterprises with a Burien city business license, 10 or fewer employees, have been a for-profit business for 12 months or longer, and have a 25 percent or larger drop in their revenue. Grants up to $5,000 are available, said Wilson.

Ventures Nonprofit of Seattle will administer the funds, and this will be the second round, Wilson said. Ventures says it “builds businesses and changes lives by equipping low-income entrepreneurs with training, support and access to capital.”

The application period started Oct. 2, and will close on Oct. 15, 2020.

Wilson said there was an earlier grant of $385,000 directed to human services, with a “good percentage of that (for) human services.”

Vacated Annex hit by copper wire thief
There has been extreme damage done to the Annex building, now closed and awaiting to be demolished, said Wilson.

There have been “real problems with theft and with burglary inside that building to the point where the whole electrical system was compromised. That turned out to be an extreme safety concern,” he said. “We also had the fire sprinkler system and the water access damaged to the point where we had severe flooding that occurred within there and we have had continued problems.”

Wilson said the Burien Police have “identified a suspect in the act at the Annex on Sunday night and that person is in custody for burglary.”

The burglars intent, said Wilson, was to get copper wire for sale.

City of Burien to get federal pandemic funds to aid local businesses; copper thief arrested at Annex 1

City of Burien to get federal pandemic funds to aid local businesses; copper thief arrested at Annex 2

City of Burien to get federal pandemic funds to aid local businesses; copper thief arrested at Annex 3

Photos courtesy Burien Police / King County Sheriff’s Office

Burien Police said that over the last week, they had received complaints of someone breaking into the Annex building and stealing copper from pipes and wiring.

Burien Police/King County Sheriff’s Office Special Emphasis Team (SET) detectives monitored the property on Sunday, Oct. 4 then caught the burglar in the act cutting fences, breaking doors and digging up underground utilities in his search for copper.

He was arrested and booked into jail for burglary.

Face masks donated to Highline Public Schools
In other business, The city manager told Council the city has donated 5,000 face masks to the Highline School District for their students. The masks were donated to the city and “we are happy to redistribute those masks … to the Highline School District.

Three citizens honored
Three local people were unanimously proclaimed 2019 Citizens of the Year, an honor usually awarded earlier in the year, and a proclamation, both postponed from May due to the pandemic. The awards were cited by Mayor Jimmy Matta and City Manager Brian Wilson.

The first was for Grace Stiller who “is a longtime board member and current interim board president for the Burien Arts Association whose mission is to enrich Burien with arts and culture.”

“Stiller founded the nonprofit organization Weed Warriors (now known as Nature Stewards) in 2008 as as a way to help youth enrolled in Highline area schools complete their community service requirements through projects that connected them to the natural world; and Stiller and her organization Nature Stewards is involved in the establishment and operations of two community edible gardens in Burien.”

Pastors honored
The two women honored together were Pastors Jenny Partch and Lina Thompson “continue to advocate for the most vulnerable in our community,” The two “Pastors Jenny Partch and Lina Thompson worked with the Ecumenical Leadership Circle to organize emergency financial support for residents of the Fox Cove Apartments, who faced displacement because the building was being sold; and “Pastors Jenny Partch and Lina Thompson witnessed the hardship suffered by people experiencing homelessness and those living at risk of losing their housing” and “felt called to action and organized a diverse coalition of community members and leaders to advocate for renter protections in Burien.”

Council followed with a proclamation also originally slated for May but postponed because of the onset of the pandemic. The original “Affordable Housing Week Proclamation” noted the city found “1,115 people in southwest King County sleeping outdoors without shelter in January of this year, and two in five households in Burien are considered cost-burdened, because they were spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing,” and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing financial constraints for low- and moderate-income households.”