Burien Washington

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About Burien
Burien is a 100-year-old waterfront community with six miles of Puget Sound shoreline and expansive mountain views. Residents take pride in their neighborhood, actively preserving their saltwater accesses and protecting the appearance of their streets and public spaces. Housing ranges from starter homes to high-end homes, condominiums and apartments of all sizes, including senior apartments.

Residents and business people alike love the convenience of Burien’s hub location and great connections. You can drive north to Seattle in 12 minutes, east to Sea-Tac Airport in five minutes, and south to Tacoma or east to Bellevue in 30 minutes. The hub site means that jobs and entertainment are convenient, the parking problems are elsewhere, and a slower pace prevails in residential neighborhoods.

Burien has been busy rebuilding and reinventing itself. Downtown’s major arterial received a makeover with widened sidewalks, benches, landscaping, and old-fashioned lampposts. The new Burien Town Square in 2009 opened its first buildings, a joint King County Regional Library and Burien City Hall, and multi-story condominium/retail building. Also completed was Town Square Park at the center of the development. Town Square has reshaped the downtown area into a central gathering point for the community.

Burien’s downtown serves a large segment of the South King County population. For more than 70 years, Burien has been noted for boutique retail, professional personal services, and a large number of ethnic restaurants that attract diners from near and far. Burien’s international cuisine originates in Australia, China, El Salvador, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam. Burien’s inviting downtown features a July 4th parade, Farmers Market, Art Walks, excellent local theater and seasonal festivals, which generate year-round activity excitement. Old Burien, the historic town center, is bustling with new development, including the soon-to-be-built Highline Heritage Museum, serving the 150,000 residents of the greater Highline area.

Burien also is becoming known for its thriving health care community. Given the size of the city, Burien has an unusually large number of providers that include hospitals, health centers, clinics, private practice doctors, dentists and various wellness specialists.

Burien has been designated by the Puget Sound Regional Council as one of 25 Regional Growth Centers that will experience focused urban growth in the decades ahead. The community is embracing new approaches and technology in education, health care, development and recreation. The City of Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department in 2010 opened a newly remodeled Community Center and is planning a new recreational facility for children, teenagers and older adults, and for cultural arts programs. For many years, volunteers have supported an orchestra, live theatre, dance groups, art galleries, a pottery studio, and the 800-seat Highline Performing Arts Center.

The Highline School District, based in Burien, enjoys strong public support and has opened several new schools over the past decade. Educators are proud of the Microsoft certification class, a marine technology lab, and the Puget Sound Skills Center. Nearby Highline Community College offers a wide variety of educational and technical programs.

Burien is a diverse community, with minorities making up 38.5% of the total population, according to the 2010 census. Hispanics are Burien’s largest ethnic group, making up 20.7% of the population, with 10% Asian. More than 50 different languages are spoken in the homes of Burien area students, according to the Highline School District.


The City of Burien  has a Council- Manager form of government.  The seven members of the City Council are elected at large for four –year terms.  The Mayor is elected by the Council for a two-year term. The City provides a range of services to its citizens. City departments include City Manager’s office, City Clerk, City Attorney, Community Development,  Finance, Human Resources and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. The City contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services, fire services are provided by Fire District 2 and North Highline Fire District. Water, sewer and power are provided by outside public and private entities. The City employs 72 FTE’s and has a 2013 budget of about $24 million.


Where is Burien?


Historical Mileposts

1993    February 28 is Incorporation Day

1995    Groundbreaking and dedication of Lake Burien Memorial Park

1997    City assumes ownership of King County parks properties in Burien 
             City’s first Comprehensive Plan adopted

1998    Annexation of 2,500 residents of Manhattan & Woodside Park areas 
             Parks Board & Arts Commission formed

2000    Downtown Town Square Task Force begins meeting to plan a Town Square
             First annual outdoor concert series held at Lake Burien School Park

2001    Burien’s Skate Park opens

2002    Work begins on SW 152nd Street improvement project

2003    Burien City Council meetings are broadcast

2004    City Council begins study of possible annexation of North Highline area
             Conceptual site plan for 20-acre Town Square development approved

2005    Work completed on removal of south seawall and beach restoration at Seahurst Park 
             Dedication ceremony held for Burien’s new Eagle Landing Park

2006    Dedication ceremony for Mathison Park, first park developed east of 1st Ave. S.
             Groundbreaking of Town Square Park
             City Hall moves to a new temporary location on Ambaum Blvd.

2007    Jacob Ambaum Park opens on Ambaum Blvd.
             Demolition of former Gottschalk begins marking of construction of Burien Town Square

2008    City initiates new economic development initiative to build on the “cluster” of medical 
             service providers in Burien. 

             City adopts biennial budget process

2009    New City Hall/Library opens
             Town Square Park opens
             Radio-free Burien begins broadcasting
             City rolls out new website
             Groundbreaking for SCORE (Jail)
             Burien Interim Art Space has year-long run
             Work completed on Phase One of 1st Ave. S. improvement project

2010    Public Works maintenance crews brought in-house
             Community Center opens in newly remodeled former library
             Burien contracts to begin Burien Animal Care and Control
             Annexation of 14,000 North Highline residents

2011    SCORE regional jail opens
             City Council develops, adopts Vision for Burien 
             Metro/Sound Transit parking garage opens downtown
             City's major arterials are resurfaced  
             Work begins on Phase 2 of 1st Ave. S. improvement project 

2012    CARES animal shelter opens in Burien 

2013     1st Ave. S. Phase 2 improvement project completed
               Works begins on Seahurst Shoreline Restoration Project, north seawall removal 
                       



400 SW 152nd St, Suite 300  /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 241-4647  /  Fax: (206) 248-5539
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