Home Hope vs. Homelessness A Tale of Two Visions. Healing or Moving

A Tale of Two Visions. Healing or Moving

By Martin Barrett

Burien City Hall, 9am Friday

Early Friday morning, people from church and nonprofit groups, city, police, and LEAD workers arrived at City Hall to begin moving the tent campers off the premises. There were about 12 tents and 20 campers. Campers were trying to break down the gear, find something to put their belongings in and move on. Cameras abounded. Onlookers stood watching. Camper responses varied; some were angry, others seemed resigned to move, and a few were confused. Volunteers from the churches were helping them pack, fold up tarps, and load their goods into vehicles. The site was cleared by 1:30 in the afternoon. Ready for cleaning.

Church teams helping pack up and load

Had the next step been about all the campers taking the offer to go to a local church for showers, hot meals, beds, clean clothes, and a place to go through a natural detox surrounded by experienced staff, this would have been a great story. This day would have been hopeful for the campers and our city. But that is not how this story ends.

Upon arriving at City Hall, workers were surprised to find some of the campers had already moved their tents up two blocks west to 152nd and 6th, currently used as a dog park. The campers did so with the encouragement of City Council member Cyndey Moore who visited the City Hall campsite Thursday night and proposed the new location. By 10:00 Friday morning, the police were coming to the new campsite. Neighbors had come together frustrated. A business nearby said they do not feel safe and may lose customers. In other words, the problem plaguing our city was not solved; it just moved.

The new, Cydney Moore campground

On March 22, Burien’s Human Services Manager met with the leadership of the coalition of churches and nonprofits. At that meeting, the city was brought into the thinking and intent to create a 72-hour detox facility in a local church where those from the tent campers, be they clean, high or intoxicated, could come to get hot meals, showers, clean clothes, a bed and someone to help them find a path forward. Rather than advice on what permits would be needed and how they might help, the city was silent. Not until 36 hours before the tent removal was slated to start did they notify the group of churches collaborating to serve the campers and our city of requirements they said must be met to host them—an utterly impossible timeframe.

This makes one wonder. Why wait to inform? What is the agenda of the city leadership? If the desire were to see the healing of these people, the city leaders would have been proactive and helpful, like a scout seeking to lead to success. An inexperienced team of volunteers with other jobs and responsibilities had collectively spent hundreds of hours and personal funds to make a win for everyone.

Mobile shower trailer at Hope Christian Community

In the end, seven campers did come to Hope Church. Camper goods were loaded into the volunteer vehicles of Hope members. The campers were greeted with a hot shower, fresh clothes, a hot meal, friends to hear their story, pray for them, and even a licensed counselor from a women’s shelter. They will be encouraged to take the next step to heal.

Leaders Joseph and Seth

As for the other 14, these campers are now in a new place with the same addictions, creating the same issues for a new set of businesses and residents. No closer to healing. Our city moved forward by seven. For this, we celebrate. But we lost 14, and for this, we grieve.

The city of Burien is back to the same problem. Likely the city will advise the same broken solution or none at all. Is this the plan? Is this really what we expect from our civic servants?

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  1. THANK-YOU Martin. I have been reading and keeping-up with your previous reports. Kudos to you and your team for taking a step in what seemed like the right direction. First there was hope. And now… complete and utter frustration with the incompetence of our elected public servants. The fact that there was, apparently “no place to go” — after 10+ years and probably a billion dollars spent (county-wide) — is beyond comprehension. As you stated… is this the plan? If so, what is the end game… for the campers, for the “new” neighbors and businesses, and for the health of our city’s downtown? At least now, the camping spot has an appropriate name.

  2. Yeah, so that’s a move in the right direction. I’m wondering if the city will spread the law equally and not show special favoritism towards the rich that not only do the same thing that the homeless are doing on City Hall ground but they’re doing it on a very prime, public beach, and roadway that was set aside for public use private property owners have encroached and are ready to fight with various illegal tactics of intimidation, malicious prosecution and the threat of police power .
    All in the attempt to deceive the public and public officials it is to cover their blanket attempt. Some of them have perjured them selves, and we have all the evidence we need. See Soderlind vs Haigh and City of Burien .
    Brian Roberts saved the city, and the city agreed with Soderlind and move forward with a summary judgment.
    Yes, some like Ursula and her husband get away with false police reporting, verbal, harassment, assault, and defamation without any prosecution from a neutral city Council and prosecutor that has sworn to spread the law equally?
    I suffered countless, assaults, defamation, false arrest, all as retaliation for holding my ground and protecting a public beach.

    We will have another legal rally where the citizens can meet up down at the public right of way an 80 foot stretch of beach on the southside the cabanas, the garage and the small houses and hotels can stop ruffling their feathers maybe go for a swim and take a chill pill because the Public is here we’re coming, and all the neighbors are welcome be peaceful and teach these greedy, self-centered Private property owners that love can destroy their hate and clarity and understanding of complex legal issues like public access to a public beach is not a confusing matter that needs to go to federal court. Why should a citizen have to go to federal court just to use the beach in front of their house after all you’re going to make me do research what if God has set something in place that you cannot win against fraud is hate let’s watch it mail the way on the south beach in Three Tree Point who wants to rent a cabana? Please leave your name and phone number. We are taking list of people that might be interested in a five-year lease.

    Go, City of Burien let’s teach them how it’s done you’ve cleaned up City Hall and it’s time to clean up for the wildlife. We have bald eagles that are threatened by ever so tall power poles and lines, running through a critical hillside we have the same people that round the power on the critical hillside and refused to underground per Burien Code those same people having crouched and built illegal cabins in Salmon habitat. I have evidence of them filling it in. I am their neighbor and I have documentation going back 50 years.
    The city of Birien used to be corrupt they used to allow felonious activity now the felons must be prosecuted at least 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine per violation when they lie to you and me and someone else you can see the money will rack up and might eat their whole estate.
    Just like the homeless, they will lose their belongings when there’s a sweep it’s just the way it goes

    • Ps are use voice text, so be smart enough to know that there might be some typos let’s not get argumentative over unrelated, subject matter

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