City Government

Burien council extends CARES animal services contract

CLARIFICATION: While Burien CARES animal control officer Ray Helms is scheduled on duty at the CARES shelter 40 hours per week, he is also on call for emergencies 24/7 and many times has responded to 911 calls after hours and on days the shelter is closed.

“I want to reassure Burien residents that local animal control is available to them on an emergency basis at all times,” Helms said. “Part of the increased funding referred to in your article is to cover the salary of an additional part-time, nationally trained animal control officer to provide back-up coverage at times when I am out sick, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable. This was one of the improvement recommendations made in the recent audit report.”


Burien lawmakers on a 4-3 vote have extended to May 30, 2016 the Burien CARES animal services contract and increased its funding from $120,000 to $170,000 per year.

Animal services has been discussed by Burien council members for a long time and is a contentious issue in the current council election races.


Press release:

Senior Planner David Johanson has been awarded the City of Burien Innovative Stewards Award for his work on the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) update which was adopted by the City Council earlier this year and now is awaiting state DOE approval.
Senior Planner David Johanson has been awarded the City of Burien Innovative Stewards Award for his work on the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) update which was adopted by the City Council earlier this year and now is awaiting state DOE approval.

Adoption of the Shoreline Master Program update ended five years of study, negotiations and countless meetings involving the city, shoreline property owners and state Department of Ecology officials. Johanson served as the lead City official in the update process.

The co-worker who nominated him for the award wrote: “David had to collaborate with myriad people regarding the SMP…David is extremely tactful and has been a wonderful representation of the City throughout the SMP process.”


Why are Burien citizens still paying newsletter printing and mailing costs to send the Burien City Newsletter to Area Y/White Center citizens?

Eight months ago the citizens of Area Y turned down by a 2 to 1 vote annexation to the City of Burien. Burien citizens were told during the annexation campaign run by the City of Burien that the newsletter was being sent to Area Y residents to give them information about a city they might be joining. The cost of the newsletter production and mailing cost and is still costing the citizens of Burien thousands of dollars out of the Burien budget to mail to Area Y.

Yesterday, I went up to see a friend of mine who lives in AreaY. To my surprise, he was still receiving City of Burien newsletters and not just one but two of them each time the city sent out a newsletter. I am wondering why the citizens of Burien are still paying to send City of Burien newsletters to the citizens of Area Y when they rejected annexation.

In these tough economic times for the City of Burien, it seems strange that Burien would still be mailing to non citizens. Can anyone explain why this is still costing Burien taxpayers money and still happening?


The City of Burien is hosting an open house for its Puget Sound shoreline property owners on Monday, July 29, 4-6 pm, at City Hall Council Chambers, 400 SW 152nd St., first floor.

The purpose of the open house is for the shoreline property owners to learn more about Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposed new Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) that are based on a new King County flood insurance study report.

If enacted, these new maps may significantly affect shoreline property. The City has asked FEMA to revalidate the City’s own flood study, approved by FEMA in November 2011, to supersede the proposed FIRMS. FEMA has indicated it will treat the request as an appeal.

Property owners are encouraged to attend the open house to learn more about the study and how the flood zone designations will change if the proposed maps become effective.
For more information, see


Press release:

On June 24, 2013, the Burien City Council agreed to a proposal by the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services (PaRCS) Department that will provide two new after-school programs in partnership with Highline Public Schools beginning this fall. The new programs will include two primary components: academic support and recreational enrichment.

Hazel Valley Elementary School and Highline High School have been chosen as program sites. Highline Public Schools staff will administer the academic support portion which will be scheduled directly after the school day ends. The City’s recreation program will follow, and include physical recreation along with other enrichment activities in the arts, nutrition education, and life skills development.

As part of this year’s Council-adopted Work Plan, the PaRCS Department was asked to identify opportunities for program enhancements in partnership with Highline Public Schools, focusing on programs that would benefit Burien youth. Through discussions with principals and staff at Hazel Valley and Highline High and other program partners, PaRCS staff developed two program proposals to present to the Council.


Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the SeaTac City Council from sending the airport workers minimum-wage Initiative to voters later this fall.

The lawsuit from Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association asks the King County Superior Court to prohibit “the City of SeaTac and the City Clerk from taking any further steps to place the proposed Ordinance before the City Council for action or any other steps to forward the proposed Ordinance to King County for placement on a ballot for any election.”


Alaska’s lawsuits specifically ask the court to order the City of SeaTac to pay for the “Plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees” for filing the lawsuit.

Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association, represented by corporate law firm Davis, Wright, Tremaine, filed their demands for an immediate injunction on July 8th. They are joined by Filo Foods and BF Foods, two Sea-Tac Airport concessionaires.


Press release:

The Burien Community Center is thrilled to be hosting No Boundaries 2013, Beginnings & Beyond until the end of September 2013, in the community center lobby.

In early 20th century, German doctor Hans Prinzhorn, and French artist Jean Dubuffet opened the eyes of the art world by studying the art of psychiatric patients. A series of following art movements-abstraction, fauvism, cubism and dada-celebrated the ideas of artistic outcasts and underrepresented groups.

In turn, Prinzhorn and Dubuffet’s original ‘Outsider Art’ genre expanded to include a broader spectrum of artists, and moved to the forefront of international attention.

No Boundaries originated 21 years ago when Christine Burgoyne, with Very Special Arts of Washington, organized and curated the first Northwest touring exhibit for artists with disabilities.

Very Special Arts of Washington Alumnus Shariana Mundi and Robert Frey are continuing the tradition with this traveling exhibit, thanks to the generous support of 4Culture in honoring and supporting artists with disabilities, both Outsider artists and professional artists of many years.


A proposed ordinance that would set a minimum wage of $15 per hour and other employment conditions for some airport transportation and hospitality workers will be on SeaTac’s Nov. 5 general election ballot.

SeaTac council members placed the ordinance on the ballot Tuesday, July 9 after declining to adopt it without a vote by residents. Because a petition with sufficient signatures was filed with King County Elections, SeaTac council members were required to either adopt the ordinance outright or send it on to the ballot.

City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo and Councilmember Dave Bush emphasized that city officials did not generate the proposed ordinance. The ordinance was proposed and signatures gathered by a group called SeaTac Committee for Good Jobs.

A special “town hall” meeting will be held July 16, 5:30 p.m., at SeaTac City Hall to hear public comments about the proposed ordinance.


It takes a whole community to make a wonderful and memorable Fourth of July Parade.

I want to especially thank Ashley Fosberg, executive director of the Highline Schools Foundation, for helping out the three young women who rode in the parade car for the Fourth of July event. The Highline Schools Foundation, Project PROMise loaned the young women dresses so that they could participate in this event and be elegantly dressed. It gave them the opportunity to be beautiful and glamorous looking for the event.

The Project PROMise program gets its funding and dresses from citizens. In the foundation’s own words, “Highline Schools Foundation (Project PROMise) collects beautiful new and gently worn formal dresses and gowns, shoes, and accessories from throughout our community and invites high school students in need to ‘go shopping’ for the perfect dress for their prom. The dresses are offered to the girls to keep, or they may return them to the foundation to be used the following year.


City Attorney Craig Knutson will become Burien’s interim city manager on July 25. The City Council selected Knutson on July 1.

City Manager Mike Martin’s last day on the job will be July 24. He has resigned to become the city administrator in Lynden. Lynden is a city of 12,000 residents, located five miles south of the Canadian border and 15 miles north of Bellingham.

Mayor Brian Bennett thanked Martin for his service to Burien and noted city managers often “bear the brunt of the sword of public opinion.” The council has been split 4-3 and with three of Martin’s supporters up for re-election his employment future in Burien was uncertain.

Knutson will also receive a 10 percent raise. Councilmember Jack Block Jr. suggested Knutson receive the same pay as the current city manager but Human Resources director Angie Chaufty reported Knutson currently makes more than Martin.

Knutson said he will bring in outside help to handle some of his city attorney duties.

Lawmakers also decided to quickly put out request for proposals from recruitment search firms.

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