Council Roundup: June 15, 2020

Annexation, COVID-19, Juneteenth, Police Accountability
Posted on 06/22/2020
Map of Area Y.

Council issued two proclamations, heard an update on measures King County Sheriff’s Office is taking to improve accountability, discussed funding for organizations providing relief for families economically affected by COVID-19, and discussed annexation of White Center and Top Hat neighborhoods.

Proclamation Thanking Essential Workers

Delivery worker carrying grocery bag.

The Burien City Council issued a proclamation thanking essential workers for keeping the critical parts of our economy during the fight against #COVID19.

Proclamation Juneteenth

Juneteenth logo.

Council passed a proclamation honoring Juneteenth in Burien. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the US. It is celebrated on June 19th because that is the day that enslaved African Americans in Texas were finally told of their freedom.

King County Takes Steps to Improve Police Accountability

Use of Force Dashboard.

The City Manager provided an update on measures King County and King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) is taking to improve police services and accountability.  

Small Business Relief and Recovery Program

Person standing next to Open sign and business.

Council discussed the City of Burien Small Business Relief & Recovery Grant program. Using $400,000 in funds from the CARES Act, the new program is designed to grant up to $5,000 to small businesses that have experienced business interruptions due to COVID-19-required business closures, have not been able to secure assistance from other COVID-19 related funding programs, and are vital to the local economy. 

City of Burien Selects Five Organizations to Receive COVID-19 Funding


The human services manager delivered an update on how the City is responding to needs of Burien’s most vulnerable community members.

The City of Burien is managing three major areas of funding:

  • Burien City Council allocated $200,000 from the General Fund to address the needs of Burien’s most vulnerable community members.
  • The federal CARES Act delivers funding to cities to use to recoup funding for COVID-19 response expenses but can also be used to address community needs. The City will request reimbursement for the $200,000 allocation set aside early in this crisis.
  • The CARES Act also allocated additional funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) program, managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to address public health, coronavirus, and housing and economic disruption needs.

The Human Services Commission held four meetings to develop a list of priorities and a process for allocating this funding. Council approved the priorities and approach recommended by the Human Services Commission.

The Human Services Commission identified five organizations in need of funding to “re-fuel” their current efforts to provide emergency services such as rent, utilities, and food assistance and family support.

  • White Center Food Bank – $25,000 for food assistance
  • St. Vincent de Paul – $44,000 for rent and utility assistance
  • Para los Niños – $43,000 rent, utility assistance, and school supplies
  • Southwest Youth and Family Services – $44,000 for financial support and culturally appropriate food support
  • Ecumenical Leadership Circle – $44,000 for support for young people out of school, homework help, emotional support, and utility assistance program

Respect Washington v. Burien Communities for Inclusion

Supreme Court building.

In 2016, the Burien City Council passed Ordinance 651 making it illegal for the City of Burien staff to collect information about immigration status or religion.

Respect Washington, in opposition to this ordinance, organized a ballot measure (Burien Measure No. 1) to repeal the ordinance and placed it on the November 2017 ballot. This was challenged by a group of community members who organized to file an injunction under the name Burien Communities for Inclusion. They were successful in keeping the measure from being added to the 2017 ballot. This case worked its way to the United States Supreme Court, who on June 8, denied Respect Washington’s petition for a writ of certiorari.

This puts an end to the legal challenge to the ordinance, which means that the City of Burien code still stands.

Filling Vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for Position No. 6

Dottie Harper park.

Jenn Neumann was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, filling a vacant position.

Council Discusses Potential Annexation of White Center and Top Hat Neighborhoods


Council discussed steps that would need to be taken to annex the White Center and Top Hat neighborhoods (Area Y). Currently, Seattle has identified a portion of the North Highline/White Center as a “Potential Annexation Area” (PAA) in their Comprehensive Plan. Only one city at a time may have this designation. Burien City Council voted to engage in the formal “next step”: mediated discussions with other jurisdictions who have an interest in the area. Burien staff will also present at a future date a proposal for studying the financial impact of annexation.

What is the Annexation Process?

Annexing an area into an incorporated city is a complex, multi-step process. It is recommended that the process include a vote by people in the area to be annexed. The five steps include:

  1. Jurisdictions interested in annexation engage in a formal mediation process. In the case of Area Y (North Highline/ White Center), several jurisdictions would be part of this discussion:  King County, Seattle, Tukwila and Burien. 
  2. Seattle would need to agree to remove their PAA designation from their Comprehensive Plan.
  3. Seattle would need to notify the Washington Boundary Review Board to withdraw their “Notice of Intent” to annex.
  4. Burien would identify the PAA in the City of Burien Comprehensive Plan and establish a Notice of Intent to annex. 
  5. Burien would undertake community engagement followed by a public vote within the potential annexation area.