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Residents in West Seattle concerned about waterfront cameras; Luke Burbank isn’t

Waterfront cameras are meant to serve as a safety measure for the Port of Seattle. Still, West Seattle residents are concerned. (AP Photo/File)

We’re worried about cameras: Red light cameras, police drones, and now – cameras along Seattle’s waterfront.

Or at least, everyone with the exception of Luke Burbank, is worried about cameras.

West Seattleites received their first chance to speak out on the cameras at a meeting on Tuesday. The cameras were already discussed by the Seattle City Council.

Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said he had a press conference time set up so that he could make an announcement on the cameras. However, issues kept coming up, and he had to keep pushing the conference back.

Some residents, like those at the meeting in West Seattle, feel like they weren’t properly notified about the cameras.

“Seattle is a very close city, but we also have to remember we’re an international city with a port,” McDonagh tells KING 5. “So we have to protect the port to protect our city, and that’s one of the reasons, the biggest reason, that we put in for this project.”

But one resident described the cameras as “creepy.”

Officials say creepiness shouldn’t be an issue. The technology they’re allegedly using has software that doesn’t let them see through the windows of homes, says KIRO Radio host Luke Burbank. “I don’t understand how that technology works.”

Aside from mystery technology, Luke says he feels like one of the only people in Seattle that really doesn’t have a problem with the cameras.

“I was apparently the only person in Seattle that didn’t have a problem with [police] drones.” Luke says he isn’t someone who thinks the government is out to get him.

“I want them to catch the person that did the bad thing.” That means that Luke is OK with red light cameras, for example. “If that means that they put me in that intersection, even though I told my girlfriend that I was working late but really I was driving home from the casino (not that that would ever happen,) but even if that happens to me, I think it’s worth that in the trade off for the larger public safety.”

The cameras are up, but are not yet operational.

Additional meetings about the cameras will be held in the coming weeks.

About the Author

Alyssa Kleven

Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.


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