By Jack Mayne The smell of jet fuel and fallout pollution from Sea-Tac Airport led the Burien Council to approve a resolution asking the Port of Seattle to provide help with the impacts on the city of Burien of rapidly and hugely growing aviation traffic. The resolution – passed by a 5 to 2 vote – seeks “assistance and investments from the Port of Seattle as follows for the impacts that current airport operations have caused and future airport expansion is likely to exacerbate.” In addition, the Monday (May 16) City Council meeting also heard from Police Chief Scott Kimerer that a new four day, 10 hour work schedule is having some effect in lowering crime rates in the city. DebiWagner051616Growing airport worries Councilmembers Debi Wagner and Nancy Tosta were tasked earlier by the Council to come up with a resolution asking the Port of Seattle to work with Burien and not as a lone agent with the problems of environmental health and economic impacts caused by the airport’s planned huge expansion. Wagner said the fact the airport is outlining growth to many more daily flights, the issue has become increasingly important. She noted that many citizens are reporting increased airport noise and smelling “increased fumes like jet fumes in the air” during morning hours. “When I walk out my door, I smell jet fuel and I know kids are walking to school smelling those fumes, and their needs to be an investigation of the health impacts this has on our community.” She said she realized the Port has helped with redevelopment investments and that the airport can bring “good jobs paying high wage jobs for Burien residents and I know we need a partnership with the Port” to pursue the investments. But Wagner said many of these matters have been discussed for the past 20 years, and that the development of the airport has “ created huge losses and crippled the economy of Burien” and inhibited “damaged the ability of our schools to upgrade” and created a “new demographic in our community of lower income population, a minority that has become predominant in these areas where we have as high as an 88 percent free and reduced priced lunch families” with children in schools. Often city ‘harmed’ “In many ways we have been harmed and only in a few ways are we being helped,” Wagner said. She said the resolution does not force the Port to do anything but does make the city’s voice a little louder, and her requested assistance are the same things other agencies have sought from the Port regarding increased airport operations. Those requests “have been stalled off for lack of funding or lack of interest or seeming support” and she wants to “bring that voice back up to be heard again.” Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton, in a letter to the Council prior to the meeting, said the Port “acknowledges that while the airport is an essential regional asset and powerful economic engine, there are community impacts that must be addressed,” and especially in the Northwest Redevelopment Area, often called the NERA, in Burien. He mentioned the various projects the Port has contributed to sustain and upgrade the area. “As part of the Sustainable Airport Master Plan process, the Port Commission remains committed to working further with Burien on ideas to help address the impacts of the airport,” Creighton told the Council. “In that spirit of cooperation, we will continue to see successful investment and growth in Burien.” Resolution vs. letter That prompted Councilmember Steve Armstrong to say that he felt the Port was already doing what it can. “I’m wondering if this resolution is more of a detriment to the direction I believe we are heading.” Instead of a resolution, Armstrong said perhaps there should be something “a little bit more friendly” and send a letter instead of an official resolution. Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz, again calling in from home by telephone, said she was in favor of the resolution and that she did not believe the Port was doing positive things for the working families of the area and producing jobs with “living wages.” Councilmember Austin Bell agreed with Berkowitz and Wagner. But Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar said that since there is no requirement that the Port do anything requested by the city resolution, he would favor a lower key route of working with the Port. “Something that accentuates on the relationship that we have been working with the Port the last six or nine months … is the way to go,” Edgar said. Mayor Krakowiak agreed with Edgar and said she believed there were some changes in the way the Port works with the surrounding cities, and she suggested a friendlier letter rather than an official resolution. Airport affects economics But Tosta reminded the Council that it asked she and Wagner to come up with a resolution on this issue and that is what they have done, a resolution that reminds all of the problems, environmental and economic, that remain. The property value problems affect the city budget, which, in turn, affect police protection and other problems. Referring to Edgar’s view of a lower key approach, Tosta said other cities “are very interested in our approach” to the problems, noting that the SeaTac City Council has formed a special committee to deal with the airport expansion problems. “I see this as an opening of a dialogue with the Port,” Tosta said. “I agree we have some traction, they have done some things in our community over the recent past. “I think we need more,” she said and said the resolution was the way to go. Councilmember Bell said resolutions were the way Councils communicate. Wagner said cancer and other illness rates are higher for those living near airports and the city was asking the Port to study what the causes and effects are of an airport’s impact on health. In the end, only Mayor Krakowiak and Deputy Mayor Edgar voted against the resolution. Burien Police update Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer said the department has implemented a new DUI policy, and told of a community survey and the resulting strategic police plan. The plan now has an officer whose job is DUI enforcement and the person chosen was “an expert certified in drug recognition.” The department added resources for evening hours. Kimerer said there were 159 DUI investigations in 2015, “a big number” and a higher count than the much larger city of Bellevue had last year. “What I want to do more than anything else is to publicize ‘do not drive under the influence in the city of Burien,’” the chief said. “We have somebody who’s going to catch you and it is a very expensive proposition and it is a dangerous one. The chief said overall violent crime was down 22 percent in the city last year. Assaults were down 37 percent, robberies down 13 percent and there were no homicides in 2015, noting there were three in 2014 and two already in 2016. Police response times are much better with the new overlapping police officer schedules of four 10-hour shifts vs. the usual five shifts of eight hours length. The overlap is during peak times. The result is that response times are improving, “not where we want them to be but they are lower than what we had before,” Kimerer said, but also calls for service went up with 20,000 calls for service. Each of Burien’s 27 officers now answers about 700 calls each or about 30,000 incidents per year. “There is a lot of work and they are doing an outstanding job,” the chief told the Council. With spring and summer, Kimerer said there would be more bike and foot patrols. The chief said they were beginning to work with and work with its defined areas of the city, and which reaches 2,402 households and 2,958 members. There are 2,038 Facebook followers of Burien Police. He noted that a single drug bust post on Facebook got 34,800 views. Kimerer added that a community survey said citizens were very interested in crime reduction and they citizens suggested more police officer. He added that his department is working hard on the problems and was not sure what more they department could do. City Manager Kamuron Gurol said he and the Council were working the county government to figure out way to get more of the Sheriff’s office resources to Burien from downtown Seattle. Gurol said he was considering “early action” on adding more police manpower and said he hoped to bring plans to the Council later in the summer. Overall response Police Explorer program Kimerer told the Council of a new Explorer program where youth are able to work with and learn about how police do their jobs. The program was launched with a $1,000 grant from Aladdin Bail Bonds for seed money for the Explorer program that provided a chance for Burien youth from 14 to 21 years of age to work around, support and learn about police services, the chief said. “There are high expectations put on these kids about their behavior,” he said. “It is a positive influence on kids.” He said the program strives to get youth involved in learning about the police profession and get them interested in it. Those in the program are “a great bunch of kids,” Kimerer said. Updating codes City building official Jan Vogee told the Councilmembers that the state construction codes are updated every three years and in the past, the Burien City Council has adopted the updates. State law requires the city adopt the code updates by July 1 and the Council placed it on the next meeting consent agenda which guarantees its passage. Similarly, David Johanson, city senior planner, presented technical updates to the city’s shoreline master plan and the Council placed them on the next consent agenda.]]>

Jack Mayne

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

16 replies on “Port asked by Burien Council to assist with Sea-Tac Airport expansion problems”

  1. Its time a new International Airport be built in Everett. . The freeway leaving a Sea Tac is dangerous as it merges with 405 -Int 5 . We are too populated to have more traffic.
    I notice jets taking off and immediately turn left going North. if there is a mechanical
    There isn’t t much of a margin to correct the problem or land. It’s a safety issue for Burien residents. Everett needs an airport..

  2. I applaud the Council for calling for this resolution and especially thank Councilmembers Wagner and Tosta for crafting it. While I appreciate others’ concerns about what might seem an aggressive or confrontational stance, I am more concerned about the fact that Burien doesn’t have the collective civic punch that many other cities in the region do, and it seems surprisingly easy for regional bodies of any sort to just happen to forget about us, put our issues at the bottom of the priority heap, use us as the place that will pick up the slack/take what more powerful cities don’t want, or ignore us altogether. If we had more economic leverage, we could possibly afford to be genteel. But we are not as graced with as many residents who carry wealth, power, and prestige as are places like Ballard or Bellevue, and we don’t have a lot of major industry or other employers to add their voices to ours, so our only recourse is to be proactive and scrappy and stand up for ourselves. The fumes in the morning are often really awful, and if it’s possible to mitigate it at all, that would be terrific. And a quick note to the police chief: would love your info to get disseminated thru vehicles other than and Facebook (and social media in general) for those many of us who intentionally because of privacy concerns or through internet connectivity-related circumstance do not use those communication channels.

  3. I live on 12th ave s in burien I built my brand new house before the third runway opened it wasent quite before that but now its insane the motherf39075897 ing planes fly over every 2 min im so fing pissed and the smell of jet fuel I making all of my family sick why isent there a law sute the airport is making billouns of dollars and we all on 12th are suffering get real port of seattle and buy us out

    1. I called real estate agents who had listings under the Third Runway fought path BEFORE construction was finished, and all mentioned the port windows but none mentioned that in the future planes would be flying directly over the house or lot. All real estate sales made there during this period were grounded in dishonesty that goes directly back to the Seattle Port Commission. It is shameful but no worries, those folks who bought homes there don’t have the resources to file a class action lawsuit against the port’s dozens of attorneys. It is a disgrace that Paine Field Everett is not the focus for future airport expansion.

  4. What the Port has done to the people on 12th Avenue South is an excellent example of man’s inhumanity to man. The Port should take responsibility and test the air quality starting at the edge of the airport moving out to 10 miles away. Many people under the flight path have died of brain and other cancers due to the toxic environment caused by jet fuel emissions while it is business as usual for the Port of Seattle.

  5. I like having a “world class” international airport in my backyard. I Lived adjacent McCord Afb when it was much busier than today and loved the planes and that aircraft smell. It would come and go. We didn’t complain. Or the helicopters or Artillery booms from Lewis.. honestly if I was living in certain areas of Burien I would be more concerned about the homeless camps popping up all over the place as well as all night nocturnal activity by these players. And the high level of theft related crimes. One of the worst in the nation for a City in its size..Just my opinion here.

  6. Now I have heard the noise from some of the plane’s yes it can be loud. But I have also know that between 509 and des moins memorial drive has always been in the flight path.But people still move to that part of town( cheaper rent most likely keeps them around). Now there are other issues that are causing unnecessary noise in the area that should be taken care of like bass from car audio systems, the over sized exhaust systems on some cars the motor cycles flying up and down some streets late at night or early morning. Or the garbage trucks that empty apartments complexes garbage at 5 to 7 am beep beep beep boom boom boom beep beep beep. I live near a couple of apartment complexes this is what I hear a couple times a week. Among putting up people that don’t understand there headlights shine right into Windows of house’s arcoss 1st Ave but then again that is a small issue.
    Also could someone explain what does the airplane fumes or this smell people are talking is or. What does it smells like. I smell diesel fuel in the morning sometimes. We have a lot of buses and service trucks around could this be what some are smelling.

  7. It’s time for a second regional airport instead of pouring money into Seatac. Of course, the Port of Seattle doesn’t want that because they have no income or control from an airport located outside of King County. So they’ll just keep expanding until 1st Avenue is the western boundary of the airport.

  8. This is why I plan to move. This is just lip service at this point to make Burien residents feel like they have a say in what the airport does. The reality is, we are a small speed bump on the Port’s journey to giant profits generated by the airport and the huge increase in air traffic. At the end of the day, it’s all about money–not about quality of life for the people impacted by the airport’s daily operations. Besides some leap forward in airplane technology that magically cuts the noise and air pollution down drastically, there is nothing that can be done to mitigate the negative side effects. I am admittedly cynical about the situation. I think a lot of us are, and for those who aren’t, then your house must not be shaking due to low-flying planes and the rumbling must not be so loud that you can’t actually hold conversations in your own yard. That is my reality and it is not enjoyable. You’d think I live right next door to the airport, but I don’t. @Sandy: You are entitled to your opinion about not minding all the noise and air pollution generated by the airport. Just know that many of us rightfully do mind. And you’re right–the homeless are one of many other problems we have to deal with in this city. But it doesn’t lessen our unhappiness with the increase in air traffic. I am a great multitasker and can be unhappy about several things at once. =)

  9. Who is for a hotel in burien. Here is a business that would rely on the airport for most of it visitors. So I guess there is a give and take to air port expansion among the money brought in to local businesses by the port of Seattle and Boeing employees shopping and using services in the area.
    How many people in burien work at the airport or for a company supported by travelers.
    Also how many people thought they would have there own personal jet pack by now !

  10. Shootings almost daily. Carjackings. Burglaries. Homeless all over the place.Probably gangs here now. Dopers stealing anything in site including cars..And we’re worried about noisy jets?.

    1. Well if you take two seconds to look into these things you mentioned James. The recent shootings have been a mix of gang violence, domestic violence and mental health issues. All problems that not only just about any where in the world but are issues here in burien to. Now gangs have been in and around burien for years. There was one carjacking the other day this does not make the news that often in this area. The break ins have been a issue in burien for years just takes some common sense to not become a victim of it. The airport issue look at any international airport and see the amount noise complaints and other complaints. This is just one of those things people can’t really do much to change things other than complain. Until we have personal jet packs and a Sasquatch on view at the zoo it’s pretty much a endless argument.

  11. Those who think that what the port is doing is not so bad, obviously do not own property in the vicinity. Burien needs to address what the Port is doing to the property value of home owners under the runways. If something is not done soon, many of those property owners will end up renting their homes, since they cannot sell them for a decent price and soon enough we will have a gangland ‘over there’ under the airport. The airport knows they de-value these properties in preparation for a possible buy-out. But they are in no rush because there is no immediate need. They don’t have anyone holding their feet to the fire over the truth of what they have been doing for decades. In the meantime many of these properties cannot up-grade from ancient septic systems to sewer lines because SW Suburban doesn’t want to get caught AGAIN for the cost of putting in new lines that will be abandoned if the port takes ownership of those sites. . Without the City and County collaborating in correcting the situation it seems obvious that the area is doomed to increased deterioration and crime. I am heartened to at least hear the City Council acknowledging that the low property value effects their coffers.

    1. Interesting sandy because looking at the king county gis it show most house appraisal value’s are going up some did go down during the housing market crash. Then the sewer issue how many people have the $20,000 dollars to hook up to a sewer line if its put in on there block. I know on my block people have gone to court over putting the sewer line in and have filled petitions for and against it over the years. Also there some reports that say sewers can dry out some the moisture in the ground witch can be good and bad. In wet rain winter dryer ground can be good but in a drought or dry summer it can cause more of a fire danger.

      1. Jimmy, though it is true that most of King County property values are rising, when it comes to actually selling property between 1st Ave and Des Moines Way north of the airport for several miles that’s where the actual situation becomes apparent. Here we are in a’ sellers market’ for the larger area, but being offered very low bids in the airport’s runway/future light industrial zone.
        Additionally, in more recent years the county has increased the required size for lots on which new septic systems can be placed, making many vacant lots useless for development without sewer systems.
        As people grow weary of dealing with these issues, many will choose to leave the area and rent their mortgage paid off homes through rental agencies and thus goes the neighborhood down the path of deterioration.

        1. Yes and company’s like to try make the lowest bid they can look at albertson they made a bid of $1 for each of the locations that where sold to Hagen’s a few months before. Another issue with sewer system is it gives some people the options of adding more houses on there lot. Which can sound good but it also makes it where more apartment’s and small town homes or factory built homes can be built or put in even trailer parks.

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