The Burien City Council will be reviewing and discussing – and possibly making a decision – about four possible sites being considered for a homeless encampment at its Monday night (July 17, 2023) regular meeting.

Information on these sites were previously requested when council directed city staff for a general profile on each property, which can be found starting on page 5 of the council packet.

The four sites under consideration include three located within Burien, and one just north of the city’s northern border on S. 116th Street.

The potential sites are as follows:

1. Former Lora Lake site in the Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA)

This property is owned by the Port of Seattle and consists of four lots, and in this case would become a potential shared project site between City and Port. It was previously the site of the Lora Lake Apartment Complex, which was demolished as part of the third runway expansion project. The southern-most portion of the open land was used as a dredged material containment area, and the property falls under the Airport Industrial 1 (A1) zone, which prohibits new residential development. Therefore, villages, pallet homes, and sanctioned camps are not permissible in this zone. The proposed long-term use for this property is as City of Burien fleet maintenance and storage, as well as airport support facilities. Previous uses of the lot include residential housing (Lora Lake Apartments), Burien Auto Wrecking, and Novak Barrel Cleaning Company, which involved washing barrels containing contaminated materials. The property has undergone extensive cleanup efforts by the Port to remove hazardous chemicals and contaminated materials, although some contamination remains capped for protection.

2. City-owned lot on SW 150th Street

This property is currently leased to Burien Toyota (since 2014) on a month-to-month basis. It falls under the Downtown Commercial zone, where villages, pallet homes, and sanctioned camps are not permitted. The lessee uses the lot for staging one-third of their car inventory. The business owner has expressed a request for continued access to the full lot, as losing it could lead to a reduction in their workforce, potentially affecting 20 to 30 jobs (read our previous coverage about their letter to the council here). The loss of the lot may also result in a considerable loss of tax revenue for the City of Burien.

3. Beverly Park School (closed)

This property, owned by Highline Public Schools, is located just 30-feet outside Burien city limits. The field area of the property has been offered as a potential site for hosting a temporary shelter facility. King County has expressed interest in supporting Burien’s use of this location. Currently, the building is used for storage and occasional robotics events, while the field stores six unused modular buildings. The field is completely enclosed by a chain-linked fence, with controlled ingress and egress through designated areas.

4. Lot at S. 136th Street and 3rd Ave S.

This property – located just northeast of Kennedy Catholic High School – is owned by Seattle City Light and falls under the Residential Single Family – 7,200 zone. Similar to the other zones, villages, pallet homes, and sanctioned camps are not permitted here. The lot is currently used as a staging area for a local construction project and contains a significant amount of heavy vegetation. The presence of sensitive environmental areas on the lot cannot be confirmed through the county and city’s GIS system.

Information provided in the packet is meant to serve as a guide for the council’s consideration, and further in-depth information on preferred locations may also be conducted by city personnel at council’s direction.

The council is scheduled to evaluate each site’s potential and the implications of using them as homeless encampments, and possibly make a decision Monday night.

Which One Should Council Pick? Take Our Poll

UPDATE JULY 18, 2023: We have closed our informal, non-scientific poll; below are the final results:

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27 replies on “Here are the 4 sites the Burien City Council will consider for a homeless encampment – which one should they pick? Take our poll”

  1. The Beverly Park School #3 is best due to existing amenities and utilities, Transform Burien could move there as well.

  2. Wrong! None of the above. Taxpayers and businesses should be given the choice of an encampment NOT a choice of where.

  3. Except that it is smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood with many small children. The fence line separates the field from many back yards. Not to mention, this is not in Burien City Limits, so those residents most directly affected do not get to vote in Burien elections. You would be negatively impacting people who have no direct say in the matter.

  4. Beverly Park seems the least objectionable site. Site security gives it the advantage. I’d like input from the neighborhood about this site before committing.

  5. Beverly Park School seems like a safe spot for the campers, as long as it has been thoroughly cleansed of hazardous materials. They shouldn’t have to worry about getting sick along with all their other problems!

  6. The more I thought about your comment, it made me realize that Transform Burien would be the best location if we absolutely are required to have an encampment. It’s already an ex-school site and they already assist homeless.

  7. The Beverly Park School is in the middle of a residential neighborhood which is the absolute last place that a homeless encampment or shelter should be located. Homes abut the entire school grounds. The neighborhood infrastructure would not be able to support a facility such as this and additionally the neighborhood would be negatively impacted by it. A better location would be the Port property where the former apartments were located.

  8. Beverly Park…. they’ll be contaminating grounds at an elementary school where kids will be attending and playing in the fields with human and drug toxicity – in addition to being in the middle of a residential area….

    S 136th St & 3rd ave s…. one near a high school in another residential area that I’d near a freeway overpass…

    NERA… an area near a park where residents play and use for leisure activity including children functions…

    S 150th St… the only option for a commercial area where they won’t be near residential neighborhoods…

  9. I agree with Jackie that we should vote whether we want an encampment or not. My reason for this is the homeless encampments become a dumping ground for garbage, shopping carts, drug paraphernalia. If we allow camping, they have to pick up the area they are living in. There is so much garbage everywhere. I don’t know if it’s from people who don’t care and just throw things on the sidewalks, streets etc. or from the homeless. If they do allow camps at Transform Burien, it seems like it will get out of control quickly with garbage etc. We need a solution that gets people housed and back into society. Wanting to camp and do drugs is not an option at all period!!!

  10. We need them at our Beverly Park site so we can count them as students and get more state monies.

  11. Why is None of the Above not an option to vote for? Do we really need more when already having a DESC coming that adversely impacts the entire downtown area? It is time for other cities to step up the plate and for Burien to consolidate and mitigate the damage.

  12. The first mistake was Burien agreeing with Seattle to make a deal and take on many of these people to take some pressure off the down town core. You weren’t given the chance to vote on that either. I’m not so against homeless, it’s the riff raff and predators on the vulnerable where the problems come from. Nobody wants this in their neighborhood. I’m voting for the Port property.

  13. I like how the “poll” doesn’t align with the ratio of comments in this or previous articles about the site at 150th.

    I’m sure the 33rd LDD are all doing the old vote > clear cache > vote again. That way they can go to the meeting tomorrow and cry about how all of Burien wants to displace the Toyota dealership and cause direct harm to their employees. The latter part not a huge deal because they can just not have a job and rely on government assistance, just like Charles and Cydney.

  14. Beverly Park school would definitely not be a good place for homeless. For one thing it is far away from places and resources that the homeless need. Another is too many residential houses with tax paying residents whose property values go down. That does not seem fair. Why not place the homeless near Transform Burien. They have a lot of resources such as food and medical for the homeless and plenty of space for tents

  15. None of these sites will be acceptable to the homeless. Their overall desire is to be in public view so the can ask for money and guilt others into giving. Sorry I’m so cynical.

  16. The Sunnydale Elementary site with Transform Burien has the Tennis courts owned and used by Highline High School. In addition HHS property is across the street and subjecting those students to the hazards of the potential encampment would be an absolutely reckless decision.

  17. This is not a good site. This isn’t even Burien. The Beverly Park building is used almost everyday by children apart of the 4-H Robotics team Skunkworks 1983. They have won international awards. The Highline and Seattle public schools make stem schools a lottery. If you have all A’s it doesn’t matter. You could test out of the state testing for your class. If the computer generated numbers don’t pick you, you don’t get to go to a stem school or be part of a robotics team. 4-H gives the opportunity to learn engineering skills in high school if your number wasn’t picked. Those children on the team put in 4-6 hour days 6days a week during the season and 4 hours 2 days a week during off season. Putting a homeless pallet village isn’t safe for an automobile but totally safe for high schoolers. I bet private school children were protected just like cars. Burien is shameless and the King County Council that supports the Beverly site and Burien City Council are shameful.

  18. Sunnydale property is off limits as it hosts Highline High Schools Tennis Courts and the High School is across the street.

  19. This survey is invalid in that it does not include the option for respondents to choose “None of the above.” Therefore, respondents may feel they are being forced to choose between what they perceive to be four bad options. We have no idea how many people might has responded “None.” Moreover, by not including this opt-out choice, it subtly implies that Burien City Council has already decided definitively to locate a sanctioned homeless encampment some where in Burien. This is not true. They may decide that no encampment within Burien is warranted…as a number of citizens have supported.

    1. As mentioned in the article, the choices in the poll we published simply reflect what was in the Burien City Council agenda packet, which *does not include* a “Non of the above” choice. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  20. Lora Lake – Port of Seattle has removed hundreds of lower income homes over the years for runway expansion. Let them help pay for support and host these people on their nicely fenced properties, monitored by their own police force. Why should local cities and their overtaxed populace bare the full burden of financial support?

  21. How convenient that all of the sites have restrictions on small villages except Beverly Park. This is a Burien concern, and moving it out of the city is what Burien wants so they can wash their hands of it. Handle your business, quit kicking the can down the road and allowing king county play you all as puppets.

  22. If Seattle proposed putting a camp outside of its own boundary, and instead, placed it within Burien city limits, Burien residents would go crazy. But it’s now ok for Burien to propose a camp outside of its own city boundary (Beverly Park school surrounded by homes) and place it in greater White Center? Burien has created this mess by not developing its own community-led process, and long-term, and funded plan, for addressing homelessness within its own community that, ideally, requires every one of its neighborhoods to carry some part of the load. Burien’s entire planning commission just resigned. Talk about getting your own house in order. And people wonder why 65% of us in greater White Center voted against Burien annexation.

  23. Voting matters less and less at every level. Those of us who follow the rules, go to work every day, and pay our taxes to keep things running will keep getting punished until every formerly good neighborhood is too dangerous for our kids.
    Does anyone else cringe when they read the word, “campers,” or is it just me? I’ll be leaving Burien as soon as my company has an open position elsewhere. Who’s going to take care of the “campers” when your tax base can’t raise a family here any more?

  24. If you look at burien map’s on the city’s website it shows the border of burien and white center is at 112th . I feel a homeless camp is not a good idea there if children are learning at Beverly Park. The location by the airport has been a area where homeless people have lived in the woods around there . It would need some cleaning up obviously.

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