Burien encampment cleared as new park lease starts
Jun 2, 2023, 2:06 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2023, 9:59 am
A homeless encampment in downtown Burien is being cleared Thursday after a struggle between the city, county, and residents who want it gone.
The deadline for residents to leave the camp near Burien City Hall was Wednesday at midnight. Crews are currently working on cleaning up whatever was left behind from the camp.
Burien C.A.R.E.S., a local non-profit, has a finalized lease on a lot located at the site of the encampment and will now be working to turn the empty lot into a dog park.
“We leased the property; we took possession of it today. We’re cleaning the property. It will have temporary fencing put up today, and we will work to transform it into the dog park,” a representative of Burien C.A.R.E.S. said as they cleared the camp.
HAPPENING NOW: An encampment in Burien at the center of a long, contentious dispute between community members and the city is now being cleared.
City workers in orange vests got here after people in green striped jackets, who described themselves as concerned community members. pic.twitter.com/KntXa7AzSE
— Sam Campbell (@HeySamCampbell) June 1, 2023
Linda Akey, a candidate for the Burien City Council, was at the camp as it was cleared and said that if they had more resources to provide shelter and behavioral health services, then maybe the situation could have been avoided.
“The City of Burien doesn’t have the financial resources to be able to provide a permanent shelter or the substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment services that many of the people need. And so we are looking to King County to be able to receive some of that help.” Akey said. “I’m not necessarily blaming the city or even King County, but we need to find solutions for people to have substance abuse mental health treatment services.”
A local resident Mark Bruce was in the area to see the state of the encampment, and he said that most of the camp had been cleared out.
“I’ve heard sides both ways I think there’s a lot of compassion here in the city for the folks and just trying to figure out a place for them to go and what they can do,” Bruce said. “I think there’s a lot of frustration from everybody because the city doesn’t know what to do. Nobody really knows what to do.”