On Saturday, April 1, 2023, we received the following statement from Burien City Councilmember Cydney Moore regarding Friday’s (Mar. 31, 2023) relocation of campers from outside the Burien City Hall/Library:
“To my community –
“I want to address the ongoing situation downtown involving unhoused individuals camping on city property, and my involvement in their relocation. I am aware of a number of inaccurate claims circulating, and I want to set the record straight.
“On Friday, March 31st several campers were forced off the City Hall/Library property. Some people were excited to see them vacated, while others were filled with dread knowing these unhoused individuals had nowhere else to go. Facing constant displacement is a struggle for anyone, and can be particularly devastating for people with very little resources, who already face a daily struggle to survive. I am one of the people who dreaded the moment of the sweep.
“In addition to the work done by City staff, nonprofits, and LEAD, I have been on the phone every day for the past 2 weeks, trying to find some kind of assistance, or ideas to offer the campers for somewhere to safely relocate to. I have reached out to a variety of organizations and individuals across our city and beyond. Contrary to what many believe, there have not been sufficient shelter beds offered to all the campers. There simply are not enough shelter beds in our region available to accommodate the needs that have grown with the housing and homelessness crisis we are facing.
“I spoke with several campers, asking them where they intended to go, what options they were considering. Most of them didn’t know where to go, and were scared. They were at risk of losing everything they owned, however little that may be. Many of them felt unwanted in their own community.
“With time running out and no options left available for people, myself and another concerned citizen held a discussion with the campers about what their rights are. Everyone deserves to know their rights – especially when they are fighting for their right just to exist.
“Martin V. Boise, a ruling the Supreme Court let stand, “prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” Such policies have been deemed unconstitutional, as they are considered cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore in violation of the 8th Amendment. “As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.” This is one of the reasons people turn to staying in spaces like the City Hall/Library property. Public property includes, among other places, the lot on SW 152nd Street and 6th Ave SW.
“It was made clear to every camper we spoke with that the city does not authorize or condone camping on public property, and that the city had not designated any sanctioned space for them to camp in.
“I also want to clarify to the community that the City of Burien, its staff, and its contracted partners did not direct people to go anywhere, or give authorization to direct campers anywhere. I acted on my own accord, as a concerned individual, and a leader tasked with ensuring the safety of all people in our city. All information relayed to the campers is public information, available to anyone. But, nevertheless, I know many people are upset that this information was shared, and upset with me for sharing it.
“I think we should all be upset – about the fact that we have systemic imbalances in our society that give some people easier access to prosperity and safety and security, while reinforcing barriers that make it so difficult for others to barely get by. We should be upset that we have so few resources available to answer an overwhelming need. We should be upset at leaders that refuse to take action to alleviate the suffering of our people at all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum, or hinder opportunities to address these injustices, resulting in the situation we see today. There are many reasons for us all to be unhappy and discontent with the status quo.
“As a city, one of our responsibilities is to address the needs of our community, and to protect the public safety of all. We have failed to do so, and the current state of downtown is a symptom demonstrating that in no uncertain terms. The people you see camping in our city are just a small snapshot image of the vast number of people in need.
“My hope is that we will continue the conversation about solutions, both for the immediate future and long term. Making change will take work, and will require our community to pool its resources and direct our energy into finding paths forward. Many people are currently working towards these goals, and many more are looking for ways to help. It is important for all of us to remember that our hands are not tied – we do have options.
“The City of Burien currently has city property and other spaces here that could be utilized to create a place to direct campers – places that would not leave people camping in our downtown core, sleeping in doorways or alleys, places that could offer the necessities that every person requires to live with dignity. Until now, we have opted not to make use of these spaces for such purposes. My ask is that our leaders come together in a collaborative effort to turn this potential for a solution into a reality.
“I will continue communicating with my fellow councilmembers and our community about these opportunities, and my hope is that, despite any differences we may have, we might find common ground in understanding that the way we operate now is not sustainable. We cannot continue using our limited resources to sweep people from place to place, and there is an urgent need for us to act to give all people who call Burien home a sense of safety, whether they are housed or not.
“I welcome any thoughts, ideas, or questions people might have. I am always willing to listen, even if our opinions differ. I believe most of us can agree that the refusal to act, to sit by and do nothing, is no longer an option. Finding solutions that benefit all is the only way we can effectively move forward.”
– Burien City Councilmember Cydney Moore
Video of Encampment Removal
If you haven’t yet seen our video documentary on Friday’s encampment removal, here it is (read our full coverage here):
I thought you might like to view this video (see below) about Quixote Village. It may give you some ideas on how to move forward with finding solutions to the homeless problem in the City of Burien.
The video below about Quixote Village was created for the Fourth Annual Thriving Communities Conference, with a focus on Shelter, held at the Whidbey Institute in March 2015.
Quixote Village grew from the vision of a self-governing tent camp of homeless adults in Olympia, Washington. The Village consists of 30 tiny cottages, a large vegetable garden and a community building that contains showers, laundry facilities, a communal kitchen and living and dining space.
Thank you for your compassion…well done clarification. As always, I’ll lead with the attached article on how Bakersfield, CA reached zero folks homeless in their community. Let’s use what works! https://nextcity.org/urbanist-news/how-bakersfield-california-ended-chronic-homelessness
I don’t see how council members can act as ordinary citizens when it behooves them and use council member status when they address other community issues. I think you are council member representing the city at all times when there are community issues. Council member Moore your deep felt empathy is not always compatible when having to represent all Burien citizens and their concerns. I think you might be a better homeless advocate as a non council member. I highly recommend you look for positions where you can use your passion for homeless on a full time basis. Homeless Shelter executive?
Well said Paula!
I was born and raised in this area (Renton) and have lived locally my whole life. I can’t even express my disgust of what our beautiful area has become. While I have great compassion for the many homeless that are there by virtue of a bad break or not making a living wage here, I have no patience for the bleeding-heart liberals that want to turn a blind eye to what is causing a lot of this issue. The Seattle Times published a recent study that $100,000.00 a year here equates to about $49,000.00. How many people even make that much a year and how can you afford shelter if you are not? I know, let’s just keep raising the Taxes! Let’s pour even more money into the homeless crisis by raising more taxes that keep raising everyone’s cost of living to keep the cycle going. The whole West Coast has become a cesspool in our major cities while the working people keep paying more and more taxes.
I ran a business that is still in Georgetown and like the poor dental folks we had to regularly clean up feces and garbage, repair broken doors and windows that were damaged for no reason; not even an attempt to break-in, just to cause damage. Pay to have clean-ups done to the property and the constant “Tagging” that is going on all over the city.
Our City Council is a joke and anyone that advocates to let people just camp in our downtown is just turning a blind-eye to the problem and passing on the pain to the tax-paying and business owners in Burien. I have to ask myself why this isn’t a problem in Three Tree Point or Normandy Park? Perhaps because the people with money don’t want them in their neighborhood?
There are large tracks of land that could be used to shelter and even treat people in need. Let’s start arresting these people and get them the treatment they need or jail them if they refuse.
My 89-year-old FIL had a great idea; Mac Neill Island is sitting unused, let’s use it, let’s house and treat the people that accept it as an alternative to jail.
As long as we tolerate this behavior, there will never be a reason for these people to quit sponging off of society or stealing to support their drug of choice or lifestyle.
WAKE UP, the Silent Majority is finally starting to have HAD ENOUGH!!
I pay all these taxes and yet, I am always paranoid when I take my dog for a walk; I have to watch where he steps and make sure to stay clear of the “campers” in our parks and the various things they leave laying about.
Allowing this to continue is ridiculous and dangerous for all.
Wow Brad, you certainly are a winner, aren’t you? Congratulations on winning the boomer middle class white male lottery! You know, you should be counting your blessings instead of spewing hateful rhetoric. Shame on you for your toxic attitude and small minded mentality!
You are so distressed about paying taxes to help those less fortunate than you. Why? Your lack of insight is rivaled only by your lack of empathy. Here you are threatening homeless people with jail if they don’t “get help.” But what about you? I think we should put *you* in jail too if you refuse to seek help for your obvious mental and emotional problems!
Brad, you need to do better. Or at least you need to shut up, because you are accomplishing little more than crowning others with the thorns of your hate. Your words are all just gushing with abject abhorrence. Your behavior here, Brad, is simply disgusting.
You’ve got a cush protected seat in the town peanut gallery from which you choose to cast angry lazy aspersions at those less accomplished. Way to go, Big Boy Brad! Does it make you feel good to say unkind things about other people? To look down upon other people? To judge others as being less than you? The stench of schadenfreude is all over your bullshit opinions.
Your hate and intolerance are totally unacceptable. What have you done in your life to help others? Cleaning up after your dog isn’t enough. You are passionately smearing your absurd logical fallacies in the faces of the most desperate and lost among us: STOP IT! STOP YOUR CRUELTY! Just Stop It! Do more, do better. Clean up after your dog, yes, but also clean up after yourself. Your verbal refuse stinks worse than your dog’s physical refuse. Your sick careless attitude is far more dangerous and harmful to society than any homeless camp. How about we relocate *you* to McNeil island?
I’d be happy to go to this or any homeless camp together with you so we can talk to the unhoused and understand their situations better. We can then begin an honest dialogue of what you personally can do to help these poor people instead of just kicking them down the block and threatening to put them in jail!
Wow, S60R *you* certainly are a winner (or is that whinner?). Brad McDonald spoke his truth, which he has every right to do and he did it without hiding behind some cryptic name like ‘S60R’. I suggest *you* come out and use *your* real name before judging others and spewing *your* hate at them. *You* have no idea who Brad McDonald is but *you* judge him. Perhaps, *you*, S60R need to be sent to McNeil island and save all rational folks from *your* hate. How long have *you* lived in Burien? Do *you* even live in Burien? Are *you* even living in the State of Washington? Why don’t *you* take all of these ‘Unhoused’ campers into *your* home, *your* yard and *your* garage and take care of and clean up after them *yourself*. Until *you* do *you* can shut *your* judgmental, holier than thou pie hole!
Well said Brad McDonald!
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