Burien City Councilmember Linda Akey recently engaged in a confrontation with individuals experiencing homelessness who had set up tents on a sidewalk outside of the Burien Town Square condos, where she resides.

The incident, captured on video by a homeless camper in a public space, occurred as Akey and her husband returned home to their condo after an evening out.

“I have authority, I have authority,” Akey says at the start of the video, “I live here and you do not belong here. You are trespassing right now. You all need to move away from the building, because it is trespassing. We will call the police on trespassing.”

Akey’s reference to trespassing comes from both a longstanding trespass order created by the condo association (see the “Request to remove trespasser(s)” form here), as well as Burien’s Ordinance 827, which took effect Nov. 1, 2023 and mandates that campers maintain a distance of at least five feet from buildings, not set up camp before 7 p.m. and remove tents by a 6 a.m. curfew. Violations are a misdemeanor.

She instructed the individuals to move away from the condo building to avoid trespassing and warned that she would call the police if they did not comply. Akey’s husband also emphasized the importance of adhering to the five-foot rule to avoid resistance.

“If you guys are five feet away, you’re not going to get any resistance,” her husband said. “You know, you’ve got the hours and everything, but the five feet rule…”

It has been documented that campers have, at various times, located themselves against the condo building and have set fires there (see video below), which would be in violation of the condo’s protective trespass order, which has reportedly been in place for sometime.

The individuals camping on the sidewalk at the time of this incident were most likely displaced from the recently-closed Sunnydale Village encampment at Oasis Home Church, which housed around 60 residents.


Below is audio-enhanced raw video filmed by one of the homeless campers, compiled from two separate recordings (running time 7-minutes, 7-seconds):

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Former Councilmember, Planning Commissioner Involved

Akey’s recent election opponent, former City Councilmember Cydney Moore (who Akey beat by 1,651 votes/15.65% for Council Position No. 2), along with former, deposed Planning Commission chair Charles Schaefer (no relation to the BTB’s Scott Schaefer) acknowledged assisting these campers with their setup and removal, in accordance with a 6 a.m. curfew for tent removal.

Given the fact that these individuals have been camping on the sidewalk underneath Akey’s residence, and Moore’s connection to the Burien Community Support Coalition, which has been seeking city funding to reestablish a sanctioned location, it has been suggested that Moore and Schaefer have been purposely targeting Akey’s condo by moving campers there, and further that it is a political strategy to pressure her to help allocate funding toward housing for the campers.

“No,” Moore said when asked directly by The B-Town Blog. “We have done extensive research searching for public land people can camp on throughout last year, and every piece of public property that has enough space for even a small group of people to camp has already been eliminated (we showed people every space we found, and the city turned it into a dog park, or allowed a private entity to illegally dump rocks on the land, etc.).”

Moore added that “there is no other land available to my knowledge. The last space people can camp is on sidewalks, and the law is that if someone is occupying a sidewalk they can’t obstruct the pathway – they must leave at least 3 feet of clearance for people to get by. There are no other sidewalks in town that I am aware of that are wide enough for people to reasonably fit tents on besides those in downtown.”

Moore said that homeless people prefer to be near the library because it is a resource, and basically the last place they can exist for free (and use bathrooms, stay dry, etc.) during open hours.

“I informed people the rules about sidewalks, and showed them space along downtown where the sidewalk is wide enough,” Moore said. “I believe people are opting to stay along the side street of 5th because it is not as exposed as being along 152nd. People drive by and honk and throw things at them frequently, and 5th isn’t as much of a main street where people can quickly drive by when throwing dangerous debris.”

“Don’t Touch Me!”

Later during the video encounter, Akey appears to approach one of the campers closely, prompting a strong verbal reaction from the individual, who claimed to have been touched.

“Don’t fu*%in touch me bitch, don’t touch me! Don’t fu*%in’ touch me again!” the woman yelled.

The camper filming the incident remarked on Akey’s potential response of Burien Police officers being called.

“Hey you know what the cops are going to do? They’re going to ask ‘hey do you guys need any food or drink?’” the camper who shot the video said with a laugh.

“I want to help you,” Akey said multiple times.

“It’s a circle that you don’t get anywhere,” the camper with the camera responded. “You think we want to live in a tent? You think we want to live on the street?”

“How can I help you?” Akey replies. “How can I house you?”

“Do you mind if I come take a shower?” the camper later asked her.

In response to the incident, Akey clarified that she was acting as a homeowner, not a government official, and expressed regret for raising her voice. She acknowledged the complexity of homelessness issues and safety concerns among residents, emphasizing the need for communication and collaboration to address these challenges.

Akey highlighted diversion programs as a promising strategy for addressing addiction and homelessness, advocating for their fair and consistent enforcement alongside existing laws. She emphasized the importance of working together to support individuals experiencing homelessness while ensuring community safety.

There is a long history of residents experiencing disturbances to their daily lives as a result of encampments in this general area. Residents report disrupted sleep due to noise and loud music, fires being set and feeling at risk while entering or exiting their residence among other concerns.

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Akey Responds

Here’s Akey’s full statement in response to this incident:

“Clarifying my recent interaction:

“First, This is a pressure point of a year of stress and work to balance the needs of the community.

“I was not acting in any capacity as a government official, but as a homeowner.  I want to work toward positive solutions.

“I recognize I may look angry and I apologize for raising my voice. 

“As Councilmember and resident, I understand the complex issues surrounding homelessness and residents’ safety concerns. I’ve been in communication with both parties regarding unauthorized belongings on private property.

“On the night in question, I approached individuals camped on the sidewalk, informing them of condo policies and city ordinances. While I empathize with their challenges, ensuring everyone’s safety is a top priority.

“My primary concern is the well-being of all involved. I believe a multi-faceted approach involving residents, social services, and relevant authorities is crucial to address homelessness and addiction.

“One promising strategy is diversion programs, which often become more readily available when existing laws are enforced fairly and consistently. These programs offer individuals struggling with addiction the opportunity to receive treatment and support instead of facing criminal prosecution. While not a cure-all, they have shown potential in helping individuals overcome addiction and rebuild their lives. By enforcing existing laws, we can ensure a safer environment for everyone in our community while also providing pathways to support and rehabilitation for those experiencing homelessness and addiction. This approach recognizes the complex needs of all individuals involved and aims to promote long-term solutions.

“Working together to address everyone’s needs is crucial. This includes advocating for resources for individuals experiencing homelessness, exploring diversion programs, and promoting collaboration and understanding.”

The City of Burien, including Mayor Kevin Schilling and City Manager Adolfo Bailon, were contacted, but declined to comment on the matter.

Video of Fire

Below is video from a condo resident showing a camper setting a fire next to the Burien Town Square condos:

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17 replies on “VIDEO: Burien City Councilmember Linda Akey confronts homeless campers outside her downtown residence”

  1. My sympathy is all for Ms. Lakey and her husband. The sidewalk in front of their condo building has been invaded by people who have no respect or regard for the rights of the rest of the community. I for one am sick and tired of hearing about the generalized sob story of people who are drug addicts and/or alcoholics and so are unable to rent housing, whether because of simple lack of adequate funds (what happens when a person doesn’t do any work for a living) or because of a terrible record of violent and/or other anti-social behavior. And another gripe is that these people who are camping and defecating plus using drugs right on the street, do have money! They are getting all kinds of government money, such as SSI benefits, food stamps, etc. I used to feel sorry for these people. Now I feel sorry for the rest of us, decent people who have to live in an environment plagued with unprosecuted, anti-social people who have taken over many of our streets and public places.

    Thanks for this opportunity to blow off a little steam.

  2. Good on her!! My brother lives there too!! These homeless people have been educated on what to say, buzzwords, victimhood, and gaslighting law abiding citizens. I heard them say several times that she was drunk or she’s drinking trying to make her look bad. How do they pay for their cell phones? 🤔 I wish the cops would exercise the law and not worry about the woke response.

  3. ‘Homelessness may be ruining the “prestige” of our greatest cities as the president said, but not because people are sleeping on the streets, in doorways, and under bridges. It’s because we have failed to respond humanely—and to act based on evidence.

    Today’s debate on homelessness looks like finger-pointing. The federal government blames California and vice versa.

    Unfortunately, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Local jurisdictions across the country should pass laws to allow for more apartments and affordable housing production. The federal government should provide housing subsidies for people left out of the housing market.

    But we shouldn’t place all the blame on the government. Many citizens have decided to push back on development of housing and homeless shelters in their own backyards. Homelessness is a symptom of our failed policies, collective choices, and the lack of political will to stop pointing fingers and invest in what the evidence says works—housing.’ -Urban Wire.

  4. If Cydney Moore and Charles Schaefer really cared about the homeless they would encourage them to go to a shelter or detox or rehab not sleep in a tent on the sidewalk. Using them as pawns in a political game is just wrong.

  5. I’d be pissed off too. She in no way owes an apology. King county has so many resources for homelessness & addiction. It might not be the easier softer way but if someone doesn’t want to be homeless and an addict they don’t have to. Burien is too blame for this. Too many people are soft on this issue. If tent camping wasn’t allowed, they wouldn’t be there. When will people wake up to see, they are being enabled to death. When life has real consequences, change is the only option if you want out of the cycle. I’m sorry, arrest them. Tent camping on the streets should not be normalized, drug addiction should not be normalized.

  6. We need to stop calling street people homeless or talk about how they are “experiencing homelessness”. As long as we feel sorry for the wrong things we won’t address the actual problems. They are addicts, or mentally ill, occasionally even criminals exploiting the rest. They are not “just like you” experiencing some bad luck. We can’t help them until we really see them.

    1. Actually, not all of them are “drug addicts” or “mentally ill” or “criminals exploiting the rest” some of them actually are just caught in a series of shitty situations. Part of the problem (on both sides) is the broad, generalized statements that all go.eless people are the same. I mean, for sure, a lot of them are druggies, criminals and mentally ill, but there are also alot that are none of these, and people who act like they are all the same are ignorant for that belief.

  7. How come you almost never see Asian, Mexican, Central American, or Eastern European homeless? They are almost all exclusively white or black Americans? Americans do not know how to handle adversity, they would rather live in a tent and do drugs than work harder or longer to stay out of homelessness.

    1. I guess it depends on whether or not you pay attention. I have seen several Asian and Mexican homeless people. Also, many natives, from all over the place. But, I guess, people only see what they want to see …

      1. Do you see that in Burien? We are seeing only what we want to see? WRONG!
        We don’t want to see anybody homeless, but this has been going on too long here
        in this city. This has turned into the “enabling Liberals” (throw money and resources to these that are mostly “drug addicts” or “mentally ill” or “criminals exploiting the rest”). Businesses are leaving Burien to get away from this. I have lived here in Burien for 65yrs and we have never had this go on in the past. Camping “Squatting” on sidewalks should be outlawed and enforced.

  8. We have lived in this community many years and raised our family here. At this point in time I feel less safe than I ever have. The drugs that are dealt in the open and the homeless that use the streets as their toilets is disheartening. There is much discussion about the rights of homeless people who refuse help for other housing due to their drug addiction yet little about the rights and safety of residents who pay the taxes to keep our city afloat. The fact that the previous Burien Council did not make much headway to change this situation is disappointing. That leaves our present council with a more difficult task. It is my hope positive changes are on the horizon with our new council. We are counting on them.

  9. Good on her. She handled herself very well. I would have to think these people were encouraged to camp there by a certain person who lost to Linda. Why we even allow side walk camping is beyond me.

  10. Cydney and Charles need to be told that their methods are negative and childish. This is not how you get what you want. CM said that there is no other land available here. Well, the state of Washington is very big. If you have no home and no job, you can live anywhere.

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