Burien camping ban saga continues as mayor speaks on resolution

Apr 25, 2024, 4:54 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

Photo: A homeless encampment in Burien....

A homeless encampment in Burien. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

If you live in King County, you probably already know there is an ongoing feud between Burien Mayor Kevin Schilling, King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

At the center of the issue is the City of Burien’s public camping ban.

Background: Homeless camping restrictions increase in Burien with new ordinance

The city said the ban is needed to protect the people of Burien and local businesses. Schilling said sidewalks needed to be clear and accessible for the city to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The county simply said the ban is unconstitutional.

Both sides have filed lawsuits against the other. Both are pending.

Exclusive: City of Burien sues King County for breaking contract in homeless camping ban

In the meantime, Schilling, surrounded by Burien business owners at a Thursday morning news conference, said it’s time to stop the legal fight and for both sides to sit down face-to-face and talk.

“We need to get to the table and find a pathway that meets the needs of the City of Burien. That works to get folks off the street and into shelter and services,” Schilling said.

Business owners also weighed in.

“It’s time for government to start working together as adults, solving the homeless issue and stop wasting taxpayer dollars,” Burien business owner Monty Penney said.

Recently: Burien city manager moves to replace police chief as camping ban fight rages

Schilling said Cole-Tindall and Constantine refuse to engage the city. Cole-Tindall said the city just wants to delay.

“Before the city recently changed its public camping ordinance, officers enforced the public camping ordinance in partnership with the city’s social service contractors. Unfortunately, the Burien City Council passed a new public camping ordinance in March that police officers cannot enforce because it is unconstitutional,” Cole-Tindall said. “The City of Burien then discontinued social service contracts, which are necessary to have effective enforcement and compliance with public camping ordinances.”

Cole-Tindall said for her officers to resume enforcement of the public camping ban, all the city has to do is re-adopt the city’s previous, constitutional, camping ban and reengage with social service organizations.

Schilling said the original ban is still on the books and the King County Sheriff’s Office can enforce it whenever Cole-Tindall chooses.

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

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Burien camping ban saga continues as mayor speaks on resolution