Burien police officer not enforcing city’s new camping ban

Mar 11, 2024, 9:08 AM | Updated: 2:22 pm

burien camping ban...

Burien Police in front of homeless encampments (Photo: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio)

A Burien police officer backed down from enforcing the city’s camping ban at an encampment Monday morning after being confronted by a former city council member.

The officer approached the camp on the sidewalk across from Burien City Hall around 6 a.m., with people nearby telling KIRO Newsradio he was ordering homeless people to clear the camp.

Burien city law states camping is not allowed on public property from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

More from Sam Campbell: English Bulldog shot, 8 puppies rescued in Pierce County

Cydney Moore, who served on the Burien City Council before losing reelection in November, said some of the people living in the camp texted her about it.

She arrived at the camp shortly after. She asked why the Burien law (Ordinance 832) was being enforced when the King County Sheriff’s Office — whom Burien contracts for its police services — was reportedly directing its deputies not to enforce the ban over concerns about its constitutionality.

The sheriff’s refusal was first reported by The Jason Rantz show on KTTH.

More from Rantz: Sheriff’s homeless betrayal is why Dow Constantine appointed her

KIRO Newsradio reporter Sam Campbell saw the officer go back to his patrol cruiser to seek clarification on enforcement. When he returned, the officer told people in the camp they did not have to clear out.

Instead, he cited a trespassing policy, telling the homeless people to move just several feet away from the nearby building.

A business owner in the building told KIRO Newsradio he was the one to call the police to ask them to move the tents, which he has done regularly to access his business.

The current state of whether the camp is legal or not and whether its removal will be enforced is unclear.

You can read more of Sam Campbell’s stories here. Follow Sam Campbell on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here

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Burien police officer not enforcing city’s new camping ban