The Burien City Council began the meeting on Monday, May 20, 2024, by honoring Public Works Week and its essential workers.

They then received a presentation on the feasibility of a new International Public Market in Burien or its neighboring cities.

Public comments addressed concerns about road safety, questionable legal fees, recent bike lane installations, and the progress of transitional housing projects.

The meeting concluded with a vote to explore an earlier start time for future council meetings.

Proclamation for Public Works Week

In honor of Public Works Week (May 19–25, 2024), it was suggested that when you see public works crews out on projects, give them a wave and a thank-you. Their work is often behind the scenes and unrecognized, yet is vital to the city. According to the proclamation, public works professionals are responsible for rebuilding, improving, and protecting transportation systems, water supply & treatment, public buildings, and other facilities important to all communities. The proclamation also honors Maiya Andrews, who is retiring after three decades in public works, the last 12 years of which were spent in service to Burien. This is the 64th annual National Public Works Week.

Presentation On International Public Market Study

Chris Craig, Burien’s Economic Development Manager, along with representatives from the Port of Seattle and King County, presented findings about the feasibility of creating a new South King County public market. This would be something along the lines of the Pike Place Market, a destination for locals to shop as well as a draw for tourism and a venue for small vendors.

After extensive community engagement and market analysis, they came up with four potential models for the market, each at a different price point and with different benefits. They are considering locations in Burien, as well as Seatac and Tukwila. After analysis on 13 regional locations, sites in Tukwila received the highest scores for feasibility.

Community engagement on an interest survey was high, and favorable: According to the presentation, more than 80% of responses were positive. However, all four potential market models require financial contribution from the host city, and there was a general feeling of Burien not having the budget to devote to this type of thing. It is not off the table yet however, and multiple councilmembers expressed enthusiasm for the project, wherever it ends up.

Council Reports

Councilmember Linda Akey shared that the LEAD program has procured funding for 15 Burien homeless individuals to have beds by June 1. She also mentioned that DESC’s newly built Bloomside will have an open house on Thursday May 23, starting at 2 p.m. This will include information as well as a tour of the facility, and Akey said it’s an opportunity to get your questions answered. Bloomside will house and provide wraparound services to 95 formerly homeless individuals. They will take in around 33 of Burien’s own homeless, as determined by case workers, and all residents will be required to comply with a good neighbor policy.

City Manager Adolfo Bailon also reported that the city’s food truck demo program is set to expire imminently. With no recent applicants, there was no interest in extending the program.

Public Comments

One commenter shared again his concerns about the dangers of not having reflectors on the bulkheads along the newly rebuilt curved section of Ambaum Boulevard. He said it’s only a matter of time before a tragic accident occurs there due to the city’s negligence.

Another commenter said that the city is paying outrageous legal fees to defend a private homeowner’s shoreline development. He wondered at this use of public funds.

On a positive note, one speaker said the new bike lanes along 136th are looking good. This same speaker, however, asked what the new council wants to do to make Burien better. He said it’s very clear what they don’t want, but their intentions are unclear.

One speaker complained about the lack of progress on the construction of new transitional housing. It was said that if Burien is not going to allow the pallet shelter to be built, they should tell the county to use the million dollars to help the homeless elsewhere.

Another speaker, referring to the large amount of tents now at the courthouse parking lot, asked if King County needed a permit to operate a tent encampment on their property. She also said the county should be required to provide services like the Oasis temporary camp did.

Potential Change To Meeting Time

Councilmember Linda Akey expressed interest in moving to an earlier start time for council meetings. Councilmember Sarah Moore agreed that they don’t do their best thinking during the later evening hours, but said she worries that starting too early would limit who could run for city council in the future. Currently the hour before council meetings is often spent in executive session, meaning a 6 p.m. official start time would mean councilmembers will often actually need to be there by 5 p.m. for their special meetings.

Council voted 5–2 to pursue a 6 p.m. start time, with Councilmembers Hugo Garcia & Sarah Moore opposed. City Attorney Garmin Newsom said they would draft a resolution on the time change to bring to a vote at a future meeting. In the interim, the start time will remain 7 p.m. 

There was no interest in meeting on a different weekday, after City Manager Adolfo Bailon showed a calendar of all the other scheduled meetings and things that would have to be adjusted if the day was swapped.

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...

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3 Comments

  1. “They will take in around 33 of Burien’s own homeless, as determined by case workers, and all residents will be required to comply with a good neighbor policy.”

    What exactly are the rules of the “good neighbor policy”?

    1. Hopefully the B-Town Blog will publish it for all to see, then we will all know the policy is only between DESC and it’s clients. The City, and/or Police will only have codes or laws to enforce if violations happen that go above and beyond the rental agreement.

  2. It always amuses me when perpetual public comment participants wonder why things aren’t happening fast enough for them. Maybe they should learn a lesson or two from many historical figures and come to understand that poking the bear only makes it angry. As my mother would say “sugar water goes over better than vinegar”

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