On Monday, Burien City Manager Adolfo Bailon took an essential first step in restoring our city.
A notice was posted on the doors of the city hall and library informing residents that Burien will again be enforcing the public trespass laws. In 2018 the Burien City Council, including current member Jimmy Matta, voted to suspend public trespass law enforcement. Since then, homeless encampments at various doors and sides of the building have made the building feel inaccessible and unsafe for many families and residents who seek to use the facility as purposed.
This action puts Burien more in line with Cities such as Kent and Tacoma, which were studied for reasonableness in responding to the need. The Prohibited Conduct is not new — change is in the courage to enforce them.
This action has been taken by new City Manager Adolfo Bailon, who has been open and receptive to the concerns of the downtown business community. This move to renew enforcement, along with removing a serial sex offender in the alley behind shops on 152nd, gives hope to the residents of Burien! We applaud City Manager Adolfo Bailon for considering the needs of all the residents and not just a particular interest group.
We now must ask what the position of the King County Library will be. Since 2018, the Burien library has also allowed conduct that violates the city’s policies. Library security staff are not authorized to remove violators from the building. Outside doors and security of the building perimeter are the responsibility of the city, not the library. The city is stating its intent to resume enforcement of the public trespass law; the library is now set up to fulfill its responsibility. Will it again make our publicly funded library a safe and usable space for its intended purpose?
As of publication, the tents and loitering are still present. We hope this is a grace period giving time for those who have encamped at city hall an opportunity to move to a better place. Removing a place where people can destroy themselves and die early is not love. We hope those who have camped at City Hall will now connect with one of nine organizations in Burien ready to help them out of their plight and on the road to healing.