Here’s our recap of the Burien City Council meeting held on Monday night, Jan. 8, 2024:
New Mayor & Deputy Mayor Selected
Councilmember Jimmy Matta nominated Councilmember Kevin Schilling for Mayor, and Councilmember Stephanie Mora for Deputy Mayor. He said it was time for the younger generation to take charge, and that we would be the “first to have millennials leading the city.”
Both Schilling and Mora were approved for their new positions in 5–2 votes, with Councilmembers Hugo Garcia and Sarah Moore opposed.
City Manager’s Report
City Manager Adolfo Bailon informed council that there are currently 11 vacancies for advisory boards for 2024, and they have only received two applications. The deadline for applications is January 12th. The roles that need to be filled include serving on the Arts Commission, the Economic Development Commission, the Airport Committee, the Human Services Commission, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. More information, including applications, can be found here.
Bailon also reported that the stairs at Eagle Landing have been removed, completing a controversial project that has been in the works for years.
There were no new updates about the development of the new sanctioned homeless camp adjacent to Kennedy Catholic High School. Bailon said they are still working on sorting out any possible zoning issues, and there will be community meetings at the high school as soon as the city has more information for the neighborhood on this project.
Several commenters expressed concerns with the temporary homeless camp at Oasis Home Church. One said that a man was brutally stabbed to death and left under a bridge near the camp. He said there should be more dialogue about this issue, because he can’t understand why people want to overturn the camping ban in light of the many issues around homeless camps.
Other neighbors of Oasis Home Church said that volunteers at the camp refuse to do anything about the open drug use taking place around the area, and that they are insufficiently staffed to handle the arising issues. They said neighborhood children are afraid to travel through the area anymore.
Former councilmember Cydney Moore responded to the above commenters in her own comment, speaking on behalf of the Oasis camp. She said that her volunteers felt threatened by the aggressive behavior of the neighbors who brought their complaints about the homeless camp residents. She said the volunteers would be happy to enforce camp rules, if they are politely informed of the situation.
Another commenter brought a petition with 88 signatures from neighbors of the Burien Severe Weather Shelter, which he said had become a hotbed of open drug use, stolen cars, illegal camping, and harassment. The petition asks the operators of the severe weather shelter to commit to not allowing felons, firearms, open drug use or drinking.
One commenter said that in the last 8 to 10 years, Burien has become a refuge for the homeless and now he is ashamed to say that he is from here. He said that this issue will be Burien’s downfall. Another speaker said that criminalizing homelessness further disenfranchises those on the street, and is no way to rectify the situation.
One speaker from Boulevard Park said that the neighborhood is still experiencing flooding issues that have plagued the area for years. She asked that funding to fix the issue be prioritized. She explained that she has shared grant information with city staff, and those grant application deadlines have come and gone, with a resolution long overdue.
The council voted to add a couple of new proclamations to the schedule, including National Non-Profit Day and Korean American Day. Both were approved in 6–1 votes with Deputy Mayor Stephanie Mora objecting. Mora explained that she would like to discuss the idea of eliminating all official proclamations in the future.
Watch full video of the meeting here.