EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday, April 15, 2021, the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce released its final results from an online survey it conducted about the proposed DESC permanent supportive housing project in downtown Burien.

As we previously reported, DESC is proposing a new supportive apartment building with around 95 units at 801 SW 150th Street (map below).

Out of 354 total survey responses, nearly 51 percent indicated opposition to the project, with 35 percent indicating support. Fourteen percent said they had no opinion or wanted more information

The survey was conducted online from March 25 through April 12, 2021, was open to all, and was available in both English and Spanish.

The chamber said that it also received 203 written comments from respondents.

“Every day, we all see the challenges facing our community and the many complex layers to it,” Board Chai Brian Frederick said. “That has created a sense of urgency in the community and our organization has received multiple requests for action regarding the proposed DESC permanent supportive housing project in downtown Burien. Like the diverse group that we serve, we have fielded requests from both sides of the issue. Seeking better understanding, we surveyed our membership during an incredibly busy time as businesses battle COVID-19 and received 354 responses.”

Here’s the full text of the chamber’s results:

Honorable Mayor Matta and Burien City Council Members,

Just like you and the positions you hold, the Chamber exists to serve its members. Our organization is member-driven and is just as varied and diverse as the community we serve throughout Southwest King County. We are driven by the needs, requests, and direction of our membership and are always searching for ways to help our community grow, develop, and thrive. From my position as the Chair of the Board to every board member and staff person, policy and leadership decisions start first with our members and how we can help impact the area in which we live and work.

Every day, we all see the challenges facing our community and the many complex layers to it. That has created a sense of urgency in the community and our organization has received multiple requests for action regarding the proposed DESC permanent supportive housing project in downtown Burien. Like the diverse group that we serve, we have fielded requests from both sides of the issue. Seeking better understanding, we surveyed our membership during an incredibly busy time as businesses battle COVID-19 and received 354 responses.

In the spirit of collaboration, we are summarizing the findings below. Please find the final tabulation on the last page.

Of all the votes cast:

    • 35.03% were in support of the project
    • 50.85% were in opposition of the project
    • While 14.12% had no opinion or wanted more information

Slicing the information a little more:

    • 75% of participants self-identified as business owners were in opposition of the DESC project
    • 10% of participants self-identified as non-business owners were in opposition of the DESC project

This survey was taken from a knowledgeable group where a vast majority had attended an informational meeting or reviewed the available information.

We were also pleased to receive 203 written comments from the respondents.

Of those that supported the project, the top 3 reasons were:

    • Decrease homelessness in Burien
    • Compassion
    • Improve the community

Of those that opposed the project, the top 3 reasons were:

    • Location
    • Crime
    • Prior examples (i.e. Renton)

We believe bringing people together and unleashing their diverse ideas, thoughts, and opinions is very valuable in finding, vetting, and fine-tuning solutions. Today, there are many groups, organizations, and citizens that can be galvanized together to overcome the complex problems facing us all. We have never felt stronger that our founding principle of “We are stronger together” rings true.

Thank you for your consideration and all of your continued service. We are here to help.

Sincerely,
Brian Frederick
Board Chair
Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce

We presented you preliminary results on April 1st and now are providing the final results today on April 15th.

The survey was open from March 25, 2021 through April 12, 2021 and was available in both English and Spanish. In total, we collected 354 responses from the Burien community.

Again, the purpose of the survey was to seek feedback on the DESC affordable housing project in Burien. Although several Zoom meetings were held, small businesses are incredibly busy, especially now with COVID-19, and we wanted to provide a quick and easy way for businesses to share their thoughts with you, our policy makers.

The following is a final tally of results:

    • 37.01% (131 individuals) self-identified as business owners
    • 24.65% (87 individuals) identified as having attended an information session
    • 88.39% (312 individuals) identified as reviewed the information available

    • 35.03% (124 individuals) identified as in support of the project
    • 50.85% (180 individuals) identified as in opposition of the project
    • 2.54% (9 individuals) identified as not having an opinion of the project
    • 11.58% (41 individuals) identified as wanting or needing more information before an opinion could be registered

    • 9.89% (35 individuals) self-identified as business owners in support of the project
    • 21.75% (77 individuals) self-identified as business owners in opposition of the project
    • 24.86% (88 individuals) self-identified as non-business owners in support of the project
    • 29.10% (103 individuals) self-identified as non-business owners in opposition of the project

Chart: Position vs. Business Owner Status

Out of 354 total responses:

Business Owner Status
Yes No Skipped Total
Position Support 35 88 1 124
Opposition 77 103 0 180
No opinion 6 3 0 9
I don’t know 13 27 1 41
Total 131 221 2 354