The owners of Burien Toyota – a car dealership that has been doing business in Burien for over 68 years – on July 10, 2023 sent a letter to the Burien City Council expressing their opposition to a King County proposal that would move homeless encampments to a lot near their business that they lease.

The Burien City Council is considering relocating homeless encampments to the lot on SW 150th Street near 1st Ave South (map below), which is owned by the city and leased to Burien Toyota. King County has allocated $1 million and 35 pallet homes to fund a temporary shelter with services for the homeless, but the city council has not yet made a final decision on the plan.

Dean and Alan Anderson, the dealer principals, claim that the proposal would have negative consequences for their sales, taxes, employees, and customers. They estimate that the city, state, and county could lose up to $3 million in sales tax and $160,000 in business and occupation tax each year if they lose one third of their vehicle inventory space to an encampment site.

They also warn that they would have to lay off 20 to 30 workers and that the remaining ones would face lower income and higher security risks.

The Andersons argue that the homeless people who have refused services do not want to change their “drug-fueled lives” and will continue to harm others. They say that they have already experienced car thefts, break-ins, harassment, and threats from the homeless population. They question the effectiveness of the city’s plan and ask for a viable solution that does not hurt the hard-working citizens of Burien.

“Please explain to us where a homeless facility has succeeded,” they said in the letter. “How long do you expect the county’s $1,000,000 to last? And, will it help? We know that building a homeless encampment across the street will fail because we have been dealing with the byproduct of your carelessness each day. By catering to the small number of people who have already shown that they do not want our help, you are hurting the livelihood of so many other hard-working, honest citizens. We all want a viable solution for those less fortunate, but not at the expense of our ability to provide for our families and feel safe while doing so. We ask that you stop sitting on the sidelines. Join us in making Burien a safe, thriving city once again.”

The letter from Burien Toyota has sparked a heated debate among residents and businesses of Burien, as well as homeless advocates. Some support the dealership’s stance and say that the city should not accommodate homeless people who have caused problems in the community. Others criticize the dealership’s tone and say that the city should show compassion and empathy for homeless people who are struggling with poverty, addiction, and mental health issues.

The city council has received hundreds of emails and calls on both sides of this divisive issue. Councilmembers say that they are trying to balance the needs and interests of all stakeholders and that they are looking for a long-term solution to address homelessness in Burien. They say that they are working with the county, the state, and local nonprofits to find more resources and options for the homeless population. But as of July 12, 2023, no concrete action has been taken.

The council will likely address this issue at their next meeting this coming Monday night, July 17, 2023, although the agenda packet had not yet been released as of July 12.

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Councilmember Cydney Moore Responds

Here’s a statement from Burien City Councilmember Cydney Moore regarding Burien Toyota’s letter:

“In the letter council received from the owners of Burien Toyota there is a noticeable absence of any mention of the 100 parking spaces King County has generously offered their business, should the City of Burien decide to end the lease agreement with Toyota for the city-owned lot on 150th St. These 100 parking spaces made available to Toyota are on property directly adjacent to the city lot Toyota currently uses – literally just feet away. Toyota currently lists 96 vehicles in their inventory, which presumably accounts for vehicles on their property, and overflow in the city-owned lot. This suggests that 100 parking spaces offered by the county would seem sufficient to account for the overflow parking currently accommodated by the city lot.

“Furthermore, I feel the letter from Toyota displays a lack of knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding homelessness – particularly relating to sanctioned encampments or tiny home villages. There are many successful models of sanctioned camps and villages that have operated peacefully for many years – we have one just down the road (less than 10 minutes away from Burien Toyota), called Camp Second Chance. Several other examples exist throughout our region and the country. Most of these long-standing organized camps and villages include agreements from their residents to be good neighbors, and avoid conflict with surrounding homes and businesses. Because sanctioned camps/villages include regulations and operational guidelines that can be enforced, people who do resort to criminal or disruptive activity can be removed. What we are seeing on our streets today are people left with no oversight and little support (despite what some people have said, our city-contracted, professional organizations addressing the needs of unhoused people in our community have made it abundantly clear there is not enough shelter or housing available to people). Our city deserves better, and our residents – housed and unhoused alike, deserve better.

“I hope the owners of Burien Toyota will come to the table with an open mind, and willingness to learn more about the realities of sanctioned camps and villages, and homelessness as a whole. We have people facing a major crisis in our community, and only by working together can we create a lasting solution that benefits us all.”

Homeless Advocates Respond

Homeless advocates also responded to Burien Toyota’s letter, referencing King County’s offer of 100 spaces in the Transit Center garage, that lists 96 vehicles in inventory, and claim that “they appear to be getting sufficient space.”

“FACT CHECK: County is offering 100 parking spaces and their website lists 96 vehicles in inventory,” Tweeted @BurienGovWatch.

“I respect the rights of Business owners to lobby their elected officials as they see fit but when does it become a hostage situation?” Tweeted @Burien Cat Lady.

“Mayor Aragon said openly in a recent candidate forum that his status as ‘the largest taxpayer in Burien’ is why the council is so hesitant to consider taking back the lot they’ve leased to him,” @Burien Cat Lady added.

Andersons Donate $6,400 to Campaigns

According to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), Dean and Mona Anderson have donated to the campaigns of Councilmember Kevin Schilling ($2,400), as well as first-time candidates Alex Andrade ($2,000), and Linda Akey ($2,000).

Image/text of Burien Toyota’s letter:


July 10, 2023

To the Burien City Council,

We understand that relocating the homeless encampments in our city is a complicated task and we are aware that you are considering moving them to the lot on SW 150th Street. You have learned about the daily impact these encampments have had on local businesses and Burien residents. Additionally, we are writing this letter to show you how it would impact the city’s financial situation if you to turn that lot into a homeless refuge.

That lot holds one third of our new and used vehicle inventory. Losing that space would mean less sales, which would directly affect sales tax and B&O tax income. By our calculations, the city, state, and county could lose a combined $3,000,000 in sales tax and $160,000 in business and occupation tax each year. You would also be affecting the financial situation of many of our employees. With a large, sudden drop in sales, we would not be able to afford to maintain our current payroll expense and would have to eliminate 20 to 30 positions. Those employees that do remain will find it much harder to pay their bills with less inventory available to sell. Each one of us still feels the effects of the pandemic; it would be cruel to add another stressor to an already anxious workforce that has fought so hard to continue providing for their families.

Along with financial stability, our hard-working employees deserve to feel safe. The Burien businesses have already offered so much to the people living in these encampments; the remaining homeless have refused such services. This proves to us that they do not want to stop living their drug-fueled lives and will continue to hurt others to feed their lifestyle. Our employees have already had to deal with their cars being broken into and/or stolen while at work. If the criminals who have stuck around in these tented encampments are living right across the street, where do you think they will go first? We often have to escort them out of our showroom for harassing our customers. Those same customers witness these people threatening and demeaning our employees as they are removed from the premises.

Please explain to us where a homeless facility has succeeded. How long do you expect the county’s $1,000,000 to last? And, will it help? We know that building a homeless encampment across the street will fail because we have been dealing with the byproduct of your carelessness each day. By catering to the small number of people who have already shown that they do not want our help, you are hurting the livelihood of so many other hard-working, honest citizens. We all want a viable solution for those less fortunate, but not at the expense of our ability to provide for our families and feel safe while doing so. We ask that you stop sitting on the sidelines. loin us in making Burien a safe, thriving city once again.

Dean Anderson, Dealer Principal
Alan Anderson, Dealer Principal • 206.243.0700 • 15025 1st Ave South, Burien. WA 98148

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14 replies on “In letter to Burien City Council, Burien Toyota owners protest city’s plan to relocate homeless encampment in lot they lease”

  1. It sounds like a temporary solution to me and very disruptive for the Toyota dealership. Maybe I missed it, but how long is their lease? Also, who will assure we citizens that the encampment will be drug and alcohol free? Will Cydney Moore and Charles Schaefer be the head camp counselors keeping everything ok?
    I think that Burien is being held hostage and once again, the business people and citizens pay the price for people who need to get their acts together.

  2. Forcing Burien Toyota to relinquish contractually leased land would set a horrible precedent, what business would want to settle in Burien when long term profitable arrangements are threatened. And, the proposed available replacement at the Transit Center is not as Cydney M. puts it “literally just feet away” it’s hundreds of feet uphill and out of sight, and who’s going to fence and patrol it to protect the cars? The City has already been pressured into allowing the DESC, further coddling of King County is foolish and a poor investment in Burien’s future and prosperity. What’s needed is a camping ban, those squatting on 152nd have no interest or intention of living in a structured camp anyways, they would have taken up on offers already if that was the case.

  3. The nearby Methodist church, who already manages the seasonal cold weather shelter, graciously volunteered to oversee this proposed tiny house village, quite a while ago.

  4. Let Burien rot. Give it to the communists. Who cares.
    Dean and family has helped so many people over the years. Without any credit.
    Dean can live anywhere he wants. Time to get out.

  5. What experience do they have in managing a large scale encampment, it’s a stretch from just using a church basement on a rare seasonal basis. There’s the managing of numerous overlapping daily services plus security, power, water, sewer, waste and of course enforcement of the code of ethics. Let’s not forget neighborhood notification, commenting and a permitting process to even exist regardless of offer or whim.

  6. I think first off we have to look at how many people of burien have purchased a vehicle from this location in burien. How did it go did you get a good deal and good follow-up service. Now the owners are playing political sides and we have the troll of the b-town blog question authority stating their thoughts. If the homeless don’t want help is there a way to trespass them from the city. Now that may sound harsh but what can we do if they refuse help. How can we tell if the city has offered help. I have been to downtown burien a few times a month in the past few months I have not seen any poop or needles and no one flashing people don’t want to . But some people on the blog say this type of actions are going on. Makes me wonder if the clean up people have been doing a good job. Or are people just trolling the blog being over dramatic of the situation.

  7. Well we as burien citizens need to think about if you have purchased a car from this Toyoda location how was the service over the years. Did they treat you right and is it a company we want to keep in burien or are they a company people are like yeah don’t buy a car from them because of too many issues over the years . Then think of the comments on this blog and If you have gone to downtown burien in the past few months how many times have you seen human feces on the ground or some one leaving drug used needles around how do you know they were used for bad drugs and not for medications . Have you seen a homeless person flashing people or how about the rumors of underage sex workers. Then what are the city ways to deal with people that don’t want help. Can there be a way to trespass people from the city and how to enforce it and the cost . Also figuring out why they don’t want help are they on drugs or is their mental state of mind is it they don’t like churches. Do they live a homeless life to not have rules or regulations. Now I can understand some homeless shelters and other places have strict rules some are understandable and some are kinda like what? Just some things to think about

  8. Yes, my family has purchased several vehicles from Burien Toyota and Burien Chevy. Dean has even helped some of my less fortunate family members get a car. Way above and beyond the call of service. He and his wife are incredible members of our community and they have helped countless people. Day in and day out, Dean and his family have built something incredible in Burien and it is not just a car dealership. It is horrifying to watch people who have no clue try and tear them down. I hope he moves his dealerships to someplace else safer and cleaner.

  9. Jimmy,
    To better experience what others are witnessing first hand and to understand the effect upon the local businesses I encourage you to visit the encampment. Then you will see the absolutely filth strewn parking strip and the condition of it’s inhabitants, until you do don’t discount it’s effect upon Burien.

  10. Iam not trying to say there A bad company just asking simply question. To a part of this conversation. It’s great that you may of had good experience with them. You’re one person out of over 50,000 people living in burien .

  11. Oh you don’t think I have not been by there or around there seen it. Just because I made comment on the this situation. Hey I have idea follow the rules of posting on here. I don’t feel the need to answer to you as you troll this blog over the years. With your over dramatic nonsense it is waste of my time.

  12. It sounds like the owners of Toyota of Burien have not visited a Pallet Home village or Tiny Home Village before. I have in Seattle, and I found it incredibly well maintained and safe. However, I am not as familiar with the individuals needing housing in Burien. Perhaps both parties need to come together with community members and King County to educate themselves on these options. Maybe city council meetings and letter writing is not enough to work together. It sounds like things are escalating which prohibits understanding on both sides.

    Also, Burien Toyota says they have had conflict with some individuals. Is it fact these individuals would in fact be part of this future housing opportunity? In my experience, the Since Tiny Home Villages and Pallet Homes are self-governing communities, they do not want individuals in their community who cause conflict with neighbors. They will get kicked out. With that being said, I do agree we should ask what budget allocation will go to outreach to those individuals experiencing addiction and mental health issues. And yes, that outreach takes time to develop relationships and trust. Immediate results may not be realistic.

    Again, I am not as familiar with Burien’s plan, but I think instead of immediately saying “no” we could explore more options and opportunities to compromise.

  13. If Burien Toyota doesn’t want to give up their leased space, why not put the sanctioned camp on the Transit Center space offered to them? If it is the garage, that will help with protection from the elements, an added bonus.

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