The King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) on Thursday, Mar. 14, 2024 followed through with the Sheriff’s threat earlier this week, and officially filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court, challenging the constitutionality of the City of Burien’s recently expanded public camping ordinance.

This motion is the one first mentioned by King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall at a press conference held on Monday, Mar. 11, 2024.

The Sheriff decided that KCSO – which provides police services as the Burien Police Department – not enforce the city’s Ordinance 832 camping ban until a judge could determine whether it is unconstitutional or not.

A growing encampment is now located just east of the Burien Town Square condos on 5th Place SW near SW 152nd Street, and sadly, an unhoused camper died there on Thursday morning, Mar. 14.

“The Sheriff’s Office is sad to see the death of any resident, including the case today in Burien,” KCSO said in a statement.

As we first reported, the investigation into the cause of death (and identity) of that unhoused camper found at an encampment near Burien Town Square will be determined by the King County Medical Examiner’s office.

“While there is disagreement between the City of Burien and the Sheriff’s Office regarding a recently adopted emergency public camping ordinance, KCSO is actively enforcing all other laws within the City of Burien,” KCSO said. “For example, the Burien Police Department has made 303 criminal arrests and 81 drug arrests in Burien so far in 2024. KCSO has and will continue to work constructively with the City on law enforcement and public safety.”

“In reference to the recently adopted public camping ordinance, it is important to note that unlike the previous ordinance, the newly adopted ordinance jeopardizes constitutional rights and poses questions that need to be answered by the courts,” KCSO added.

Following up on Monday’s initial announcement of the court case, KCSO’s legal team filed the motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday in US District Court.

“The motion highlights substantial constitutional problems with Burien’s anti-camping ordinance, including violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” KCSO said.

The City of Burien fired back on Mar. 12, saying that it was “deeply concerned about the misinformation, partial truths, and inaccuracies presented during the King County Sheriff’s press conference on March 11, 2024.”

A ruling on the Sheriff’s motion for preliminary injunction that determines the constitutionality of Burien’s ordinance is expected any time after April 5, 2024.

The constitutionality of the Burien ordinance will be resolved, but the Sheriff’s directive will remain in place until the matter is resolved by the court.



Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.