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Burien Economic Survey Results Presented

Burien News Contributor

The last Burien economic survey taken and reported on was 2018.

This article is about the survey taken in 2022.

Unsurprisingly, the top two concerns of businesses across the board in Burien are “Crime” and “Homelessness.”

The presentation was well given. However, it was missing a few key details. For example – the presenter, Chris Craig, didn’t provide actual percentages about what levels of concern people had about crime (just stating it as the highest percent).

About 255 businesses participated in the 2022 survey. Not all participants answered every question. Most participants claim Downtown Burien as home, followed by home-based businesses, then Ambaum Blvd taking the 3rd highest.  

It was also clear that the pandemic and lockdowns significantly impacted the majority of businesses’ bottom line and stability. 

The good news is that 53% had planned on hiring or were hiring additional staff. 

But back to crime and homelessness: The percentage of to close or relocate outside of Burien has gained traction since 2018 (no overall percentage was given).

When asked about the top challenges faced by Burien’s businesses: (see slide)

1) Crime

2) Homelessness

3) Marketing and attracting customers

4) Staffing

5) Rising costs and economic uncertainty

When posed with the question: What is your overall opinion of Burien as a place to do business? (See slide)

Only 26% claimed Excellent compared to 2018 @ 20%, followed by 38% claiming Good compared to 2018 @ 49%, followed by increases in Poor and Very Poor.

A word cloud of concerns showed CRIME as the most prominent issue, which included words like: almost dangerous, panhandling, homelessness, theft, vandalism, and accountability (among other descriptive words used to describe concerns about doing business in Burien.) 

Another question posed was: 

How satisfied are you with city government services (see slide)? PUBLIC SAFETY was stated as the number one concern, followed by homelessness and cleanliness.

What one thing can the Burien City government do to improve the job it’s doing? (Again presented as “major themes” without an actual percentage)

 The top two: 

  1. Improve public safety
  2. Address homelessness

Yet one more:

 What ideas or suggestions do you have to enhance economic development in the city? (see slide}

  1. Enhance public safety
  2. Reduce homelessness
  3. Attract commercial development 

Last question:

What measures, if any, do you think the city should take to improve public safety?

       1. More police and patrolling

       2. Enforce existing laws and regulations, anti-camping laws and enforcing public safety codes

The minimal comments and responses from the city council were telling. There was no robust conversation about addressing the top two items of concern – Crime and Homelessness, other than Matta and Garcia wanting to ensure the Hispanic business community was prioritized. 

This survey was taken in 2022 before the tent encampment descended upon Burien. I wonder how satisfied the Burien business owners are now? 

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