Council Roundup: March 21, 2022

Advisory Board Appointments, Environmental Projects, Police Staffing Challenges, Creative District, Community Survey, Solid Waste Management Requirements
Posted on 03/25/2022
Police officer.

The Burien City Council appointed new members to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Business and Economic Development Partnership, learned about environmental projects funded by the Port of Seattle, discussed staffing shortages in King County Sheriff’s Office, approved a letter of support for the Burien Creative District, discussed the BEDP work plan and annual report and 2022 Community Survey, and provided direction on proposed solid waste management requirements for businesses.

New BEDP and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Members Appointed

The City Council began a series of interviews of applicants for openings on their advisory boards and commissions.

Jennifer Fichamba, who works for the Tukwila School District, was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The application has been reopened so that two additional openings can be filled.

Ingrid Miller, owner of Three Tree Books, Cammy Tran, who works in the financial industry, and Lindsay White, owner of Osteria di Primo restaurant, were appointed to the Business and Economic Development Partnership.

Port of Seattle Grants Support Community-led Environmental Programs

Port of Seattle staff presented an overview of the South King County Community Impact Fund’s environmental grants program, with a focus on the organizations in Burien that received support in the most recent funding round.

They highlighted their community liaison program which helped organizations and community groups connect with the funding opportunities. Projects that were funded in Burien are:

  • Dirt Corps received $60,000 to conduct restoration work in Salmon Creek Park.
  • Partner in Employment received $60,000 to build environmental restoration and green jobs skills with local youth.
  • EarthGen received $60,000 to partner with Highline Public Schools in the development of green stormwater infrastructure projects.
  • Tilth Alliance received $45,000 to support community garden projects.
  • The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust received $44,925 to partner with community members to steward Salmon Creek Ravine.
  • EarthCorps received $20,000 to help restore Hilltop Park.
  • Amigos Latinos de Burien received $19,850 to add exercise equipment to Arbor Lake Park.
  • Toros Cycling Club received $19,184 for to build a bike training course and offer bike education programs near the Burien Community Center.
  • Weed Warriors received $14,600 for a solar project in the New Start Community Garden (Shark Garden).
  • Des Moines Memorial Drive Preservation Association received $8,000 to add signal box artwork wraps along Des Moines Memorial Drive.

50 percent of funding recipients were organizations or community groups that are led by Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) led. Of the five cities where grand funding can occur, community groups in Burien Burien received the most grants.

Port of Seattle staff also described major accomplishments from the ACE Green Burien Partnership, including funding Forterra to develop Burien’s Green Burien Forest Stewardship Plan and collaborate with the City to onboard nine active forest stewards, and provide access to a volunteer database, green jobs training with youth crews from Partner in Employment, and supported 32 restoration events on seven active sites engaging 339 volunteers and planting 400 trees in Burien.

King County Sheriff's Office Staffing Shortages Impact Burien Police Service

The City Council received a briefing on the significant staffing challenges the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) is facing and how it affects the Burien Police Department. KCSO has 710 commissioned officers budgeted to fill all King County and contracted police department positions. King County currently has 110 vacancies, and another 86 officers are “non-deployable” (44 people are in a training program and 42 are taking either family medical leave or are on active military duty). As a result, only 72% of existing commissioned officer positions are able to be deployed.

There are several factors influencing police staffing, both locally and nationally. As a result, KCSO hiring has failed to keep up with attrition. Another wave of retirements is anticipated later this year as a result of newly adopted state retirement system benefit enhancements for officers with more than 25 years of service.

King County has been unable to fill contract partner positions, which is particularly impactful in Burien.  The Burien Police Department is budgeted to have 44.8 FTEs and currently has six vacant positions, including general purpose detectives, traffic enforcement officers, and problem-focused detectives. These numbers may increase in the future. As a result of staffing shortages, the Burien Police currently must prioritize violent crimes, fentanyl, domestic violence, and high impact offenders over property crimes like catalytic converter theft or traffic enforcement.

KCSO is responsive to the staffing crisis, investing in recruitment strategies including advertising, retention bonuses, and targeted recruitments to increase the number of women in the agency.  Chief Boe pointed out that this short-term crisis will not affect the long-term public safety strategy for Burien Police Department.

Burien Creative District Application Gets Letter of Support from Burien City Council

The City Council agreed to sign a letter of support for an application to the Washington State Arts Commission to certify a creative district in Burien.

Several years ago, a coalition of local community members, artists, and representatives from businesses, nonprofits, and government formed the Burien Creative District Planning Committee joined together to create a plan to establish a state designated cultural district in Burien. The City Council’s letter of support is a critical component of their successful application to the state.

Business and Economic Development Partnership 2021 Annual Report and 2022 Work Plan

The Business and Economic Development Partnership presented a report of their accomplishments from 2021 and shared their work plan for 2022 for Council approval.

Community Survey to Help Shape Strategic Plan

City staff along with representatives of EMC Research, Inc. presented an overview of the 2022 Community Survey, scheduled to deploy in May, with the final report to be published in July. They weighed in on topics they would like to see covered in the survey. Postcards will be mailed to statistically significant sample of residents, and recipients will be given the option to respond to the survey online or by telephone in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese. Results from the survey will help inform the City Council’s strategic planning efforts scheduled for this summer.

Date Set for Public Hearing for Street Vacation on 11th Place SW

The City Council set April 18 as the date for a public hearing for a street vacation on 11th Place SW. The vacation request is being made in conjunction with a land use review for a 32-unit townhouse development.

A street vacation is the termination of public interest in a right-of-way. Owners of property abutting a right-of-way can follow a petition process set by state law.