The Kennydale Neighborhood Association (KNA) sent a letter last week opposing the City of Burien’s plans to turn an EconoLodge/Inn at Lake Washington located there (map below) into a homeless housing facility, but the City of Burien says it’s not considering use of any facilities outside of Burien.
The inquiry appears to be related to King County’s June, 2023 offer of $1 million and 35 pallet homes that the City has not yet accepted (read our previous coverage here).
“We made inquiries about the facility several weeks ago, but the outcome of those inquiries was that use of the facility did not meet the requirements set by King County for use of its $1 million and 35 pallet shelters,” Emily Inlow-Hood, Communications and Public Engagement Manager for the City of Burien told The B-Town Blog.
In the letter, addressed to Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon and the City Council (full text below), the association’s board of directors said the REBLX property in question is not well-suited for such a purpose, citing a lack of transit access, social service agencies, health facilities and supermarkets.
The land is also not zoned for an emergency shelter.
The association also expressed concerns about the lack of a plan on the part of Burien to provide oversight on the property or to transition short-term residents to a more permanent housing solution.
“We urge you to consider a more mindful and humane plan for Burien’s homeless population within your community,” the letter said. “Renton’s police, fire/medical, and human services resources are strained enough already.”
The City of Burien has not yet announced a decision on its homeless housing plan.
“Why is it you think we are considering sending them to Renton?” Councilmember Stephanie Mora said to the KNA via email. “As far as I know there is only one property we are considering using that’s here in the city of Burien. Please help me understand what I might be missing.”
Far as we can tell, the KNA has yet to respond to Mora or the city.
“Established in 1999, the Kennydale Neighborhood Association (KNA) is a group of engaged residents who are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and fostering community spirit in Kennydale, Washington,” according to their website. “Our community is comprised of over 2700 homes, with friendly, diverse neighbors that represent a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, ages, experiences, and interests.”
UPDATE: KNA Clarifies its Concerns
UPDATE OCT. 6, 2023: We reached out to Mark Peterson, KNA President, and he added this clarification:
“Our concern is that the City of Burien is inconsistent in their message regarding this issue, as indicated in this statement found on the City’s website:
“City personnel have identified several potential sites, including a facility operated by REBLX, a partner agency of KCRHA. All sites remain under consideration until an exhaustive review has been completed by City personnel and shared with the City Council.”
Full Text of Letter
Mayor Sofia Aragon and Burien City Council
400 SW 152nd Street
Burien, WA 98166
“Dear Mayor Aragon and Councilmembers
“The Kennydale Neighborhood Association opposes the plans the City of Burien is discussing for turning the EconoLodge/Inn at Lake Washington into a homeless housing facility.
“Like all the communities in our region, the City of Renton is challenged with its own homeless population and has expended a lot of money and resources to address this issue in our community.
“We request the City of Burien develop solutions to homelessness within its own boundaries.
“The EconoLodge/Inn at Lake Washington REBLX property and its surrounding neighborhoods in Renton and Newcastle are not well suited for this purpose.
• “There is no transit access to this property. The bus routes serving the area are accessed at Exit 6, one mile to the south along I-405. To walk or use a wheelchair get to that transit zone, one would either need to use the shoulder of I-405 or walk a mile and a half through the Kennydale neighborhood, traversing a very steep grade in the process.
• “The area does not have any social service agencies or health facilities for the residents.
• “There is no supermarket close by.
• “The land is not zoned for an emergency shelter.
“We have not heard of a plan on the part of the City of Burien to provide any oversight on the property, nor a plan to transition short-term residents to a more permanent housing solution.
“We urge you to consider a more mindful and humane plan for Burien’s homeless population within your community. Renton’s police, fire/medical, and human services resources are strained enough already.
“Kennydale Neighborhood Association Board of Directors
Mark S. Peterson, President”