In the latest Burien City Council Meeting on Monday night, April 1, 2024, the agenda included only one business item, and just seven people signed up to speak during Public Comments.

The meeting commenced with proclamations honoring Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Earth Day, and Arbor Day, underscoring the city’s commitment to promoting equity, respect, and environmental sustainability. Additionally, Matthew Brandis was named “Citizen Of The Year,” recognizing his positive impact on the community during two decades of work at a local fast food restaurant. Public comments shed light on pressing concerns, including the homelessness crisis and its impact on local businesses. Finally, the council addressed its work plan, refining priorities to better serve the needs and interests of Burien residents. 

Proclamations & ‘Citizen of the Year’

The national theme of April 2024’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “Building Connected Communities” and focuses on how equity, respect, and our connections to each other impact others. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “addressing the social and structural determinants of health, such as education, employment, community safety, and social support, is crucial.” The proclamation says that more than 53% of women and 29% of men have reported experiencing sexual violence. Information on preventative programs and resources for survivors can be found at Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.

The second proclamation honors April 22nd as Earth Day, and April 26th as Arbor Day. Earth Day is an annual reminder that individuals, corporations, and governments have a responsibility to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and preserving and protecting our natural environments. The proclamation recognises the requirement that we meet the needs of the present without compromising the resources of future generations. Arbor Dayis celebrated around the world in recognition of the vital role trees play in reducing erosion, mitigating temperature extremes, producing oxygen, and providing habitat for wildlife. Burien adopted a plan in 2020 to increase the city’s tree canopy cover from its current 30%, to 40% by 2038.

The final proclamation named Matthew Brandis as Citizen Of The Year.” Brandis (pictured above), a longtime resident of Burien, has worked for two decades at the Wendy’s on 1st Ave South. He has made a positive impact on customers with his exceptional kindness and empathy. Several news outlets have done stories on him, including KOMO News, declaring Brandis a “local hero” in 2020. When Brandis accepted the proclamation, he explained that one of his regular customers recently shared some of her winnings with him after she got lucky on a Scratch Lottery ticket. He said that he wanted to give this money to the Mayor, to be used to help charities in the community. He said the community and his customers are what keeps him here.

Public Comments

According to one speaker who shared her data from The Seattle Times with the council, Burien gives a larger portion of its budget to the homeless than any other city in King County. She said this data originally came from the King County Housing Authority. She also said that the Union Gospel Mission always has beds available, so there should be no one sleeping on Burien’s streets. She added that men can stay at the Union Gospel Mission for 30 days, and women for 30 to 90 days.

A local business owner described opening her business just before the pandemic, surviving those difficult years, only to now be bombarded with the homelessness crisis just outside her doors. She said she does not think her business will survive for long in this environment. She said people are getting afraid and frustrated, as well as being saddened by the conditions on the downtown streets.

City Council Work Plan Update

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the lone business topic, going through the city council’s work plan and removing any items that are considered redundant, outdated, or no longer of interest. Many things were trimmed from the work plan, and a couple were added. 

Councilmember Hugo Garcia expressed interest in the idea of supporting the launch of a local soccer club. Deputy Mayor Stephanie Mora received support for having a discussion on the proclamation process, in order to use meeting time more efficiently. Councilmembers Jimmy Matta and Sarah Moore would like to have an educational session on property rights, particularly regarding the development adjacent to Seahurst Park. Matta said that while he is a strong champion of property rights, some properties are just too valuable to the community to be developed. He said we should do whatever we can to protect our urban forests.


Watch full video of this council meeting here.

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...

Leave a comment

COMMENT POLICY: Please use your real name and remain civil – no attacks. Since it's an election year, comments that campaign or complain about candidates will NOT be approved. Try writing a thoughtful, informed, intelligent comment that would make your Mom proud.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *