During his City Manager’s Report at Monday night’s (Feb. 5, 2024) Burien City Council Meeting, City Manager Adolfo Bailon said that he had heard the Oasis Home Church’s sanctioned homeless camp may be closing, but staff had nothing official to report on that yet. 

We are not sure if Bailon knew that – while he spoke – several displaced homeless individuals from the former Oasis Camp were setting up tents just outside City Hall.

The organization running the camp has been notoriously bad about keeping the city informed on anything happening at the encampment. Since its inception, city officials have been in the dark about how many people were camped there, what services were being provided, or what conditions were like for them. The organization would not provide this information, which is expected in order to operate a homeless camp in the city.

Neighbors of Oasis Home Church have consistently and passionately complained during recent council meetings about safety issues in their community since the camp opened in November, 2023. 

Former Burien Councilmember Cydney Moore is President of the Burien Community Support Coalition, the organization that worked with Oasis Home Church to temporarily house the homeless on their lot. Moore spoke during the Public Comments segment of yesterday’s council meeting, explaining that the three-month lease her group had with Oasis Home Church has ended – here’s a transcript of her statement:

“Hello, my name is Cydney Moore and I am the president of the Burien Community Support Coalition.

“For the last three months, our organization has been operating a supervised homeless encampment behind Oasis Home Church. Today, our lease with Oasis has come to an end and we are searching for a new location.

“We have proven that an operation like this can work here in Burien, so the during the last three months we’ve been successfully connecting people to services including case management, detox housing, wait lists, reconnecting them with family members, supporting them as they look for work and hold down jobs and providing essentials including tents, blankets, clothing and food.

“We would like to continue providing this level of support to those in need, but we can’t do it without help. We’ve been operating as all volunteers and with nothing but private donations. We would like to propose the city of Burien work in partnership with us so we can continue offering this vital service to the most vulnerable in our Community. We know what happens when there is not a safe space for in-house people in our city.

“As we speak, there are people outside this building setting up tents here in downtown because they have nowhere else to go. We would encourage you to help us find a new location while you work towards finalizing plans for the tiny home or pallet shelter village. So people are not left to camp out on the streets. We will be reaching out to the city in the coming days to offer our partnership and we would be happy to share more detailed information with the city about who we have served and how we would ask that you give serious consideration to how we can work together to meet our Community’s needs. Thank you.”

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Tents were set up on the sidewalk across from the Burien City Hall/Library near BECU on Monday night, Feb. 5, 2023.

Moore said that her organization has proven that this type of operation can work in Burien, successfully connecting the homeless with services and essentials. Her organization is actively searching for a new location to partner with to provide homeless services. She also said they are seeking a partnership with the city.

Mayor Kevin Schilling made it clear in a telephone statement to The B-Town Blog that the city had nothing to do with the Oasis Camp being shut down, that it was completely between Moore’s organization and the church. He also said that Moore directed homeless individuals displaced by the camp closure to move their tents to an area near Burien City Hall/Library. This might feel like deja vu for residents of Downtown Burien.

Mayor Schilling explained that there were about five tents around City Hall through the night, but in the morning police let the campers know that city ordinance does not allow camping during the day. Schilling added that there were service providers present Tuesday morning connecting with the campers when they were being told to move, but representatives from Lead/Reach were not present. The individuals packed up their tents and moved out when requested by police, but they may be back to camp in the evening, as the law allows.

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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