By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council passed a proclamation that noted the COVID-19 pandemic “has led to … a global health emergency that has led to unprecedented economic disruption,” and that “employees in health care, grocery stores, post offices, social services, law enforcement, emergency services, and emergency communications have been considered essential workers during the pandemic.”

The Council at Monday night’s (June 15, 2020) regular meeting also took a second passing glance at annexing the remaining unincorporated parts of White Center.

Juneteenth, tireless workers
The Juneteenth 2020 proclamation noted that the implementation of stay-at-home measures and restrictions on many types of businesses produced a surge in demand for delivery services, with its effects felt at every link in the supply chain.”

The proclamation added “workers who provide information technology services, human resources, facility managers, and other management functions have had to swiftly adapt to changing policies and workplace environments,” and that “janitorial and sanitation workers provide an essential service in the public health.”

It noted that “essential workers are keeping the critical parts of our economy running during the fight against COVID-19” and that “these workers have a responsibility during the pandemic to continue operations, putting them at risk of contracting the virus and potentially putting their lives in danger.”

The city proclamation thanks those “working tirelessly during this pandemic.”

The Juneteenth proclamation noted “we give honor and respect on this day to the suffering of our ancestors and we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath; and … we think about the moment in 1888 when 300 Black men were determined to escape the terrorism of the post-Civil War South as they boarded trains for the Washington territory and settled in King County mining camps.”

Parks Board vacancy
Carolyn Hope, the director of Burien Parks and Recreation told Council that Board Position No. 6 was vacated by Lee Moyer and that the term does not expire until March, 2024. Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx moved that current alternate member Jenn Neumann “makes the most sense” be on the next Council consent agenda for election to a regular term expiring on March 31, 2024. The Council unanimously approved the move.

The city will advertise that Neumann’s now-vacated position is available.

The ‘White Center Issue’
Years ago, Burien annexed the “bottom half” of the White Center unincorporated area and some would like to see the remaining area, wedged between Burien and Seattle, now to be annexed. Cost and perceived crime problems has continually delayed such a new consideration, but Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx wants a new look at annexation via a new policy.

Council may end up serving instruction to city staff to study the issue and provide a recommendation in advance of Council action, which it is scheduled to consider with 2020 Comprehensive Plan amendments in the fourth quarter of this year.

Susan McLain has been selected as the new director of the City of Burien community development department, and, as thus, she will shepherd any moves to start any potential annexation.

Previous Burien City Councils have considered any further annexation of the area to be expensive and a drain on limited city income, but Marx said she just wants to review the situation and consider any potential action later.

Public Comment
Pamela Jorgensen, in a single written submission read by the city clerk, thanked the city for its support in fighting the COVID-19 restrictions. She said the city has not specified which non-profit organizations it is considering to coordinate with to use the money. She said there are many non-profits in the area available and hoped that Transform Burien and Highline Area Food Bank are at the the of the list. She asked if efforts had been made to reach to those who do not have online access.

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.