Here’s our recap of the Burien City Council meeting held on Monday night, Oct. 2, 2023:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience some form of domestic violence within their lifetime. This could include sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking. Although people from every background can find themselves in this situation, those with disabilities or people living in poverty, as well as immigrants and refugees, are especially vulnerable to abuse. These vulnerable populations also often have fewer resources for support in leaving abusive situations.
This proclamation was received by Zinca Galusic & Elba Moreira of DAWN, a non-profit organization in Kent that helps survivors of domestic abuse in South King County. DAWN provides a 24-hour support line (425-656-7867), emergency shelter, immigration advocacy, counseling, and children’s services to survivors. For those experiencing domestic violence, another resource is DVHopeline (206-737-0242).
Indigenous People’s Day Proclamation
President Joe Biden is the first president to formally commemorate Indigenous People’s Day, which honors Native Americans’ histories and cultures. This proclamation recognises October 9th as Indigenous People’s Day. Coast Salish peoples have been present in what is now known as Burien for thousands of years. Burien recognises this at the start of every council meeting by reading the Native Land and People’s Acknowledgement. The tribal representative scheduled to accept this proclamation could not be present due to the meeting’s delayed start.
There were only about eight commenters at this meeting, with several of them speaking against the recently passed camping ban. One said that since council has now passed the ban, it is time to take meaningful action to provide shelter for the homeless who will soon be displaced. Another said that the ban would only cause harm and make the situation worse for the unhoused. Another person asked what would qualify as “voluntary unruly behavior”, for example, would a violent reaction to drug withdrawal qualify? If this behavior gets them kicked out of a shelter, would they then be subject to arrest for camping? One person thanked council for passing the camping ban.
One speaker asked for council support in building a theater on the ground floor of a planned affordable housing building adjacent to the transit center. They said not only would the theater bring in revenue from theatergoers who would also go to Burien restaurants, but having theater activity in the evenings would help make downtown safer.
Donation of Surplus Property Ordinance
This ordinance passed, giving the city manager authority to donate city property, such as desktop computers, to non-profit organizations that can utilize them. The city would still be required to hold a public hearing before donating anything worth more than $50,000. This ordinance was instigated because the city switched to laptops in the last couple of years, and have had over two dozen desktop computers simply being stored since then. They also spent money on disposal of other office items, which might have been donated had City Manager Adolfo Bailon had the authority.
Updates to Language of Camping Ban
A few proposed changes were made to the camping ban by City Attorney Garmin Newsom, and these were then approved by council in a 4–3 vote. The technical changes were suggested by the King County Sheriff’s Office legal counsel. One of the adjustments alters the time when camping is allowed to coincide with shelter times, switching the start time from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m.