Here’s our recap of the Burien City Council regular meeting held on Monday night, Mar. 20, 2023.

EDITOR’S NOTE: City Manager Adolfo Bailon’s update regarding the homeless encampment outside City Hall, along with the public comments overwhelmingly about the same topic, is fully covered here.

Adriene Buckley Receives Key to the City

Adriene Buckley, center, poses with family as she receives the Key to the City from Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon.

Adriene Buckley proudly received the Key to the City along with an official Proclamation in honor of her 30 years on staff with the City of Burien. She was the first African American woman hired by the city, and the longest serving staff member. She works as an administrative assistant in the City Clerk Office. Ms Buckley is known as the face of City Hall, providing exceptional customer service while exhibiting courtesy, patience, and resourcefulness. She is always a supportive and caring team member.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation

The second Proclamation recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The theme of 2023’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is prevention through equity, and individuals & organizations are called upon to build racial equity and respect. Rape is among the most underreported of crimes. Victims fear being disbelieved, or incurring further trauma within the legal system. The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs website has information on preventative programs as well as resources for victims of sexual assault.

RapidRide H-Line Replaces 120 Bus Line

City Manager Bailon reported that the new RapidRide H-Line is now open. This route serves Burien, White Center, Delridge, West Seattle, and Downtown. It replaces the 120 bus, one of the busiest bus lines Metro operates. The new line operates for much of its route in bus-only lanes, and has special traffic light priority for faster service. A valid Orca card or paper transfer is all that’s needed to board. Find more info about the route here.

King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) Update

The KCRHA was created in 2018 by interlocal agreement to oversee policy, funding, and services for people experiencing homelessness throughout the county. This organization aims to create a unified approach to dramatically reduce the number of unhoused people in King County. They partner with public and private organizations to bring community resources from a current state of scarcity to a future state of shared abundance.

According to their counts, 51% of people experiencing homelessness report some kind of disability, 31% are experiencing mental health issues, and 37% are dealing with substance abuse. During the presentation, they did say that accurately counting the unhoused is a notoriously difficult job, and overall numbers are always going to be lower than the reality on the street.

In May or June, KCRHA will be back to present their regional five year plan, and receive input from the city on sub-regional needs. By the end of the year they will have finalized sub-regional plans for addressing homelessness in each city.

Rental Housing Inspection Program Update

According to city code, all rental properties besides single family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, and ADUs are required to obtain a certificate of inspection every three years. Noncompliance will result in fines. For apartment buildings and duplexes, 20% of the units must be inspected, and the units will be selected by the city, not by the property owner. The landlord must hire a qualified inspector to complete the job, or risk accruing daily fines.

Out of 39 recent Burien rental properties that failed inspection, 62% had non-functioning smoke & CO2 detectors; 46% had issues with the safety of their water heater, like a lack of earthquake strapping or non-working relief valve; and 33% had unsafe decks, stairs, or balconies, generally due to dry rot or improper guard rails. Eight of the properties had exposed garbage disposal wires. Several had pest control issues, and one had no permanent heat source.

Code Enforcement Update

At its incorporation 30 years ago, with a population half its current size, the City of Burien had one code enforcement officer. Today, there is still just one code enforcement officer, Michael Amaya. This means that there isn’t leeway to proactively address code violations, and anytime Amaya is unavailable, the code complaints pile up unaddressed.

Code violation reports can be made on the city’s website. Common code violations include graffiti, noise, untended vegetation, litter, junk vehicles, and unpermitted tree cutting. These codes are in place for the protection of the health and safety of the community. 

Council voted in support of possibly growing the code enforcement team in the future, as one officer is inadequate for a city this size.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors...