[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

I live in the downtown core in Burien Town Square Condos. We have lived here for over 3 years now. We love the people of Burien, the restaurants, and small businesses, and all the wonderful events held here. We love the ease of walking to our favorite places. It is exciting to see the creation of the Burien Creative District and economic development in the community.

I come today to share my personal thoughts on a utopian future I believe can be achieved for the City of Burien. While there is so much that Burien offers and I sing the praises of living here, there are safety, security, and housing issues within Burien. While we can say these challenges exist throughout King County, the State of Washington, and even around the country, it does not need to stamp Burien with a future of these issues existing in everyday life. We can create Burien’s future.

I propose that Burien can become a community where even its unhoused residents are housed and those with mental health issues and drug addiction will be treated. Burien can be a city that cares for all its residents including those that live on Burien’s streets, public spaces, and open areas. I believe it is immoral and inhumane for those with mental illness and drug addiction to not receive treatment and live unhoused. I also believe criminal behavior should be prosecuted and criminals held accountable for their actions.

Burien can be a place where every resident feels safe and secure, where businesses can operate without dealing with broken glass, graffiti, feces on their doorsteps, dangerous threats, and stolen merchandise. Burien can be a place where businesses and residents can feel safe walking on clean streets and living without fear of their cars being broken into or stolen and homes and property are safe from thieves and no fear of bodily harm.

This vision of a clean, safe, healthy, vibrant, exciting, caring, comforting, compassionate city is not just a utopia. It is a choice. It is about leadership and collaboration and accountability and responsibility. It requires finger pointing to agencies (government, police, fire department, staff, nonprofits, courts, etc), businesses, and residents accepting personal and professional responsibility to move toward this vision. The vision means no one ever lives on the streets of Burien, but instead everyone receives services and housing.

And the vision requires goals and objectives and solutions. Real solutions that end homelessness on the streets of Burien, provide housing for all, ensure mental health and drug addiction treatments, end gang graffiti and violence, and create clean and safe streets.

This dream will mean finding financial resources, building capacity, and accepting responsibility. This means no longer saying “The laws in Washington say we can’t do that”, “There is nothing we can do because there is no place for that person to go”, “They said they didn’t want help, so there is nothing more we can do”, “It costs too much, we just don’t have the funds”. It is time to set aside the frustration of helplessness and to embrace a spirit of workable solutions.

For every one of our residents, businesses, and city leaders, I ask, WHAT is your utopian vision of Burien and HOW can it become a reality?

– Linda Akey (Flynn)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our full Letter to the Editor submission guidelines here.