Gross: Burien encampment disheartening local officials, business owners

May 16, 2023, 11:07 AM | Updated: 3:25 pm

Burien encampment...

Burien Councilmember Stephanie Mora, who shared video on Twitter of an encampment being cleared, has heard many complaints from her constituents. (Burien Councilmember Stephanie Mora/Twitter)

(Burien Councilmember Stephanie Mora/Twitter)

After the city of Burien effectively relocated a homeless encampment from City Hall to a nearby business area, it has tripled in size. Now business owners and nearby residents are demanding help.

Burien C.A.R.E.S., a local non-profit, has a pending lease on a lot located at Southwest 152nd Street — where the encampment currently sits.

Snohomish Co. Sheriff: Legislators had years to fix fentanyl crisis

The encampment sits near Town Square Dentistry, a local practice run by Dr. Randy Olson.

“I just think putting it next to a health facility is not a good idea at all,” Olson said on The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “We’re doing some difficult surgeries and long procedures, and to have the patients exit the facility and walk by the encampment and occasionally get hassled by some of the campers.”

Burien Councilmember Stephanie Mora has heard many complaints from her constituents.

“I have heard numerous complaints from the businesses,” Mora told The Jason Rantz Show. “Many businesses have also shared footage of people relieving themselves behind or around their business.”

The encampment is undoubtedly a nuisance to the Burien business community. Workers have even been assaulted near the encampment, according to Mora. The council member spent multiple days talking to business owners, noting they all shared the same general tenor.

“Everyone I spoke to those days [were] frustrated that the encampment moved closer to them,” Mora said.

Additional worries are that the relocation is not serving the people living in the camp. Mora said she dealt with a mother looking for her 17-year-old daughter in the camp, who workers claimed they saw with an older man within the encampment.

So much heartbreak is being permitted on these grounds on top of rampant drug use and general violence.

“What I see day to day, the obvious lawlessness, the lack of respect, and the overall brokenness that many of those folks have, I don’t believe we can ever help them,” Mora said.

So where does a solution come from? The tone around the camp is that it will not last in the current location for very long.

“When the campers leave, it’s going to be tough, they’re going to be confused,” Olson said. “They’re not going to know what to do, where to go.”

The belief within Burien is a sweep could be coming to this encampment, which is far from a real solution. Many residents will continue to play musical chairs while a different sector of the community may experience the ill effects.

More from Max Gross: Cities find solutions after legislative failure on drug use law

“There are a few campers who have been on our streets for at least five years,” Mora said. “If this encampment gets cleared, those few that have been on our streets that long will just put a tent up in another location.”

Relocation also could mean being disconnected from services. Outreach workers then must rebuild and restart relationships with those who need help. However, business owners like Olson and others should not have their livelihoods put at risk because the city isn’t safe.

The encampment continues to grow, and so do the problems for so many in Burien.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

KTTH Opinion

Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary sex ed promoted puberty blockers, pubic hair art

An elementary school offered inappropriate sex ed lessons to students without parental consent or district approval.

22 hours ago

seattle sucker punched...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man ‘sucker punched’ in downtown Seattle as crime plagues city

A man was "sucker punched" in an unprovoked attack in downtown Seattle over the Memorial Day weekend, according to police.

2 days ago

Seattle police...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Many Seattle city council candidates won’t support police, drug laws

An alarming number of Seattle City Council candidates do not support fully staffing or funding the police department. And nearly a third of the candidates want the police to ignore drug laws.

3 days ago

Bob Ferguson Governor Google data privacy lawsuit...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressives shred Bob Ferguson for Governor endorsement

The Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign is off to a rocky start, already alienating Seattle activists after bragging about a police chief's endorsement.

4 days ago

Seattle fentanyl...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle partners admit funding fentanyl pipes over treatment

The City of Seattle is funding supplies for fentanyl and other drug addicts without any attempt to push treatment.

8 days ago

Seattle drug addicts...

Bryan Suits

Suits: Enabling drug addicts is called ‘harm reduction’ in Seattle

A 'harm reduction' expert told the Seattle City Council it's important for Seattle to stress more 'autonomy' for drug addicts.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Gross: Burien encampment disheartening local officials, business owners