5 Burien city leaders resign in protest over homeless crisis

Jun 17, 2023, 8:43 AM

Burien homeless crisis...

City workers in orange vests got to the scene of a homeless encampment in Burien on June 1st. The camp has moved across the city multiple times since. (Photo from Sam Campbell/KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo from Sam Campbell/KIRO Newsradio)

The city of Burien’s fight over how to deal with its homeless crisis prompted five members of the city’s planning commission to abruptly resign Friday.

The Burien City Council voted to remove City Planning Commissioner Charles Schaefer Friday night. Soon thereafter, five members of the city’s planning commission submitted a resignation letter accusing the city of using Schaefer as a “scapegoat.”

Burien encampment cleared, but long-term solutions remain minimal

“I expect there will be more resignations to come,” Schaefer told KIRO 7 News. “If you look around Burien today there are still people living unsheltered and council seems unwilling to take any action to actually address the issue.”

The city has failed to house people living in a homeless camp that has moved three times in recent months.

Burien previously requested help from King County but was denied, according to KIRO 7, with the county citing the lack of a plan in place to safely house the people being moved. The county stated Burien is responsible for the unhoused within city limits as there is no obligation from the county to intervene, furthering frustrations over the homelessness crisis.

Burien running out of options with homeless encampment

The B-Town blog says of the eight volunteer members of the city’s planning commission, only one remains.

A statement from the City of Burien listed multiple reasons for firing Schaefer, including violating city ordinances and undermining the council.

KIRO 7 News contributed to this report.

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5 Burien city leaders resign in protest over homeless crisis