CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct a claim that the City of Burien has reportedly allocated $1 million to assist with resources and support. It does not.

The City of Burien celebrated its 30th anniversary of incorporation on Feb. 28, 2023, but the intimately nestled locale is making news for a completely different reason this week. 

Current signage posted at the encampment outside the Burien City Hall/Library state that inhabitants will have until Noon on Friday, Mar. 31, 2023, to evacuate their belongings from the premises. There were approximately 15 tents in the area at the time of this publication.

“Camping at this location will no longer be authorized on Friday 3/31/2023 @ 12:00 p.m.,” the signage stated. “Personal property remaining at this location after 3:00 p.m. on 3/31/23 will be considered abandoned and disposed of.”

Jeremiah Carter, 16, lives near the library.

Jeremiah Carter, a 16-year-old Burien resident, lives near the library and said his concern was for the welfare of the tented residents.

“They are going to have to put their tents away and move when they are not causing any problems,” Carter said. “I think it’s wrong because they don’t make problems. They sit and chill all day and use the WIFI. Personally, I wouldn’t have kicked them out; they have nowhere else to go.”

Burien resident and business owner Linda Akey shared a different perspective.

“I’m glad to see the tent encampment gone tomorrow,” Akey said. “I believe this will create a safe park for all. I hope that the people living in the tents will accept the services they are being offered.”

Enforcing the encampment eviction on Friday, Mar. 31, is the private security firm Homeland Patrol Division Security, which has been contracted by the Burien Condo Association.

“Service providers are working intensively to find housing or shelter for the people living in tents,” said Emily Inlow-Hood, Communications and Public Engagement Manager for the City of Burien. “This builds on months of work to match people with services, housing and shelter. Service providers are on site daily.”

Camper Speaks Up

One of the campers, whose name we can share as Jeff, is 50 years old. He allowed us to take a photo of his lot and to share his views with our readers.

“The city didn’t do anything to help us. All they did was give us 72 hours to vacate,” Jeff said. 

When we asked Jeff his thoughts on where he might go next, he became quiet.

“I’m not sure where to go, but I will have to throw all my stuff away. The City of Burien hates us. They really don’t like us,” Jeff said. “People walk past us all day long swearing at us and calling us drug addicts and it’s just ridiculous. We just need a place to sleep. We’re not doing anything wrong.”

Pop-Up Detox Center Organized

For drug-addicted residents, a 72-hour pop-up detox center is being organized by Burien resident Martin Barrett and his pastor at Hope Christian Community Church from Mar. 31 through Apr. 3.

The effort is being called “Project 614,” and includes direct assistance by Deeper Church, Highline Christian and Taproot Church, in addition to the aforementioned Hope Christian Community Church.

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Sarah Toce

Sarah has been in media and publishing for over 15 years and previously served as the president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

5 replies on “Burien residents and tent campers respond to upcoming eviction”

  1. A question to ask “Jeff” – if offered treatment that could transition to housing would he take it? If treatment isn’t needed what would he accept as help?

  2. We were at the library for family story time yesterday, and one of the campers came into the library to pull his pants down in the hall – directly next to the family story time room. The cops were called, and when they escorted him out of the library a group of camp supporters gathered and stood there and glared at the (respectful) cop as he tried to get the man (very strung out on drugs) to pull his pants up. I’m all for helping people, but come on, enough is enough. Kids innocence and safety doesn’t matter anymore in Burien? Not one of those supporters said a word about the children getting a peep show, they just hassled the cop.
    Very not cool where people’s priorities are right now. Letting strung out people continue to struggle outside the library is not helping anyone – certainly not those folks. They need real help, like treatment programs so their life has a chance to change.

  3. People that want to continue to camp out in public areas because they have no place to live would have a better chance if when a person in their camp is running around town in the middle of the night stealing & they kicked that person out.
    Like that saying ACAB… Which I understand to mean when good cops don’t report bad cops then all cops are bad. So maybe there needs to be a saying for homeless people that steal in the middle of the night and come back to their camp and they don’t get kicked out, then that would make them all bad and unhealthy for our city/ town.

  4. The extremes of apartment dwellers’ statements about loud “party animals” threatening assault versus the peaceful ones said here are impossible to integrate (aside from Kathy McKee’s letter which was just ignorant and shamelessly rude, betraying Ms. Akey’s views when she “completely agreed”). Addiction is a complex issue but I don’t even know if its relevant due to all this contrasting information and lack of documented proof. How can we know who is right when both sides are claiming victim and lacking real-world nuance? I want my unhoused neighbors to be allowed to take up space, as long as they aren’t harming or disturbing anyone. I also want my housed neighbors to feel safe, as long as they aren’t confusing personal discomfort or biased judgements as legitimate danger. I like to think most of us feel that way.

  5. I’ve talked to several business owners, who the thieving ferals will be preying on, and they expect the city to move these homeless addicts OUT OF BURIEN! Make them leave!

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