Here’s our recap of the Burien City Council meeting held on Monday night, July 24, 2023:
Homeless Housing Found
According to Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling and City Manager Adolfo Bailon, available housing has been found at a rehab facility in Renton. This facility has worked with King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) and it is expected that KCRHA will approve the use of the $1 million dollars in county funds for housing Burien’s homeless at this location.
The facility provides various types of housing, including rapid rehousing and permanent supportive homes. There are currently 116 vacancies, which should be more than what is needed to house the homeless population currently camping in Burien. City manager Bailon said he is only waiting for confirmation from KCRHA about using the funds at that location, but that communication has been slow.
NERA Discussions with Port
Bailon also said that the city has had some recent, preliminary meetings with the Port of Seattle over the possible use of the Lora Lake property that it owns in the Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) as a possible site for an encampment. “It will be a steep climb,” Bailon said, adding that this is not yet a done deal and will require further discussions.
An organized group of speakers came to the meeting to support a citywide minimum wage increase. There were around 20 commenters and most of them asked council to consider implementing a living wage; citing inflation, skyrocketing rents, and the fact that about a third of minimum wage workers are supporting families. They also mentioned how many people leave Burien for better paying jobs, and said that higher local incomes will mean more money spent at local businesses, improving the economy. One person asked that business owners be involved in any discussion of raising the minimum wage, as they will be impacted by the increased expense.
One speaker brought up how many of the people who speak at council meetings are not from Burien, and often recent meetings have had so many speakers that council has reduced public speaking time to one minute per person. He asked that speakers state their name as well as which Burien neighborhood they reside in. It used to be that speakers gave their name and home address, but security concerns eliminated that protocol. Following this suggestion, multiple speakers did give their neighborhood of residence before speaking.
Agenda Items Passed Unanimously
City council found several things they fully agreed on at this meeting, including passing the Parks & Recreation work plan, the Arts Commission work plan, and allotting nearly $18,000 for maintaining and creating new public art in Burien.
In addition, Deputy Mayor Schilling proposed a motion to direct City Manager Bailon to conduct a study on minimum wage ordinances adopted by nearby cities and bring back a recommendation for council to vote on in order to increase the minimum wage in Burien. This motion also passed with a unanimous vote.
Opioid Presentation Delayed
Due to a power outage at the presenter’s location, the opioid epidemic and settlement funds presentation was moved to a future meeting.
Video of Meeting
Watch full video of the entire council meeting here.