Here’s our recap of the regular Burien City Council meeting held on Monday night, May 15, 2023:

Homeless Encampment Update

At the start of the meeting, Councilmember Cydney Moore tried in multiple ways to amend the agenda to include giving direction to the soon-to-be displaced homeless currently camped at the lot on SW 152nd Street and 6th Ave SW. She had the support of Councilmembers Hugo Garcia and Sarah Moore, but would have needed more council support to change the meeting’s agenda. 

Later in the meeting, City Manager Adolfo Bailon discussed all the things city staff had been working on every day, very actively trying to find alternative options for the homeless individuals. Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling said it was disrespectful of all the work being done to talk about relocating the camp as if it’s been a neglected issue. King County has not come through with a lot or other resources for the homeless as hoped for, and the city does not have the budget that would be needed to provide ongoing resources for these people.

Councilmember Stephanie Mora said that everyone living at the camp has been offered a bed elsewhere, but they would not go someplace they couldn’t use drugs, and that letting them stay is sanctioning drug use.

CARES Lease of New Dog Park at Camp

Cares will pay $185 per month to lease the SW 152nd grassy corner lot from the city. Formerly used as an unofficial dog park, it will soon be made official. The decision requires CARES to leave the adjacent parking lot open to the public. 

Before the vote, Councilmember Cydney Moore stated that she did not support the motion, but then she voted in favor of it. Immediately after it passed, she tried to use an obscure rule in Robert’s Rules of Order to force the council to reexamine the decision in the next meeting, stating that since she was on the winning side of the decision, she had the power to do that. Council took a recess while the legality of this maneuver could be looked into.

Five minutes later, Deputy Mayor Schilling took the reins of the meeting to let Moore know that the rule was in place for when councilmembers were absent from a vote, and this meeting had all present. Moore did manage to amend the original motion, however, to direct the $2,220 in annual income from renting this lot to the Human Services budget, and specifically to a homeless encampment if one is created.

Public Comments: Raising the Minimum Wage

An organized coalition of around a dozen people came out to ask council to raise the city’s minimum wage. They said that friends had left jobs in Burien to work in Seattle, where they could earn more money, incentivized to leave the community. Others said that the current minimum wage is hardly enough for a decent quality of life, and keeps families on the verge of homelessness. 

Only a couple of people spoke against the raising of the minimum wage, saying that the city needs to address crime and homelessness before raising the cost of doing business in Burien, or businesses will leave. One said that his neighbors all want to leave Burien anyway, because of the crime levels on his street.

Some spoke in support of the new dog park going in where the encampment now resides. One said the city should pursue treatment first rather than a housing first approach to the homeless situation. A few people implored the council to find alternative places for the homeless people to go before moving them off the encampment.

Education Session on Blake Decision

Council heard an informative presentation from City Attorney Garmon Newsom on the history and current situation regarding the state’s laws around drug possession and use. Some cities are creating their own ordinances, while others have decided to go along with what the state comes up with. 

State legislators were not able to come to a decision during their normal session, which would effectively legalize all use and possession starting July 1, so they are having a special session just for this issue. Legislators are confident they will be able to pass a new law in time. Schilling said what made the most sense is to have a uniformity of laws covering the entire state, rather than a patchwork of different laws in every municipality, and others on the council agreed.

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...

One reply on “Homeless encampment update, lease of city property to Burien CARES and more discussed at Monday night’s Burien City Council”

  1. The common sense majority of the City Council prevailed in moving forward with the lease arrangement much to the chagrin of Cydney Moore. Her actions at the meeting bordered on ridiculous and her continuous delay tactics and rule bending were recognized as further grandstanding. She’s now hilariously on record as voting for the lease and just further showed why she is unfit for another elected term, in addition who also sides with her nonsense made themselves known and need to be unelected when the time comes.

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