Home Local Government May 15 City Council Recap

May 15 City Council Recap

RECAP by #BurienSaysEnough!

The Burien City Council meeting on Monday, May 15, was kicked off at 6:40 with an announcement from Mayor Aragon stating that the council would adjourn to private chambers to discuss minimum pricing for the sliver of land on 6th and 152nd St. currently inhabited by squatters and would be back at 7:00 p.m. for the scheduled council meeting. 

It started as most of the regularly scheduled meetings have begun in the past, with indigenous statements, platitudes, and proclamations that do nothing for the good citizens of Burien.

The real business started with Council Member Cydney Moore demanding attention to her demands which are a lack of compassion, furthering the death of drug addicts while enabling criminal activity. Moore made a motion to amend the current agenda to include moving the campers to another sanctioned city plot of land. Sara Moore joined C. Moore in filibustering the council until it failed in a 5/2 vote.

Council reports came next. Matta, Moore, Moore, and Garcia had little input. Mayor Aragon talked about the Blake Decision (see link here: https://doc.wa.gov/news/2021/spotlight/state-v-blake.htm) and the King County Regional Housing Authority, which added very little to the Council Report. 

The real standout was Councilwoman Mora – her husband was assaulted at his place of employment in Burien just two weeks prior. The other council members seemed unresponsive to her. (It could be they don’t really want this situation to gain any attention.) See this link for the full story: 


City Manager Bailon gave a short recap – he is working with King County Executive office to find adequate housing and resources for the squatters. But so far, after months of dialogue, nothing has come forward. It appears that after sending Burien the homeless issue, the County has little interest in helping solve the problem. During the report, a new acronym was introduced – SUD! ( meaning Substance Use Disorder beds.) These are beds in shelters for addicts who will not follow the rules about refraining from drug use in a shelter.)

Bailon also announced since the beginning of 2023 that Burien is on track to see a tripling of the graffiti damaging the city’s walls and businesses. However, the city manager said that the removal of graffiti is also up since last year. Burien News has learned this is largely because of volunteer groups that have been going out and cleaning up the walls of businesses.

Public comment was an echo chamber of over a dozen union members promoting raising the minimum wage to at least $18.99 an hour, currently sitting at $15.74. There was little conversation about this impact on the micro businesses facing the current upheaval in costs due to theft, vandalism, and increased taxes. A 400-page petition was presented to the council.

Randy Olson, The Town Square Dentistry practice and building owner adjacent to the Burien squatterville known as Camp Moore, made a thinly veiled statement about moving his practice to Normandy Park.

The subject of the Blake Decision was discussed by Burien’s attorney, Garmond Newsom. Please see the link here:


The council would not commit to making decisions on making drug possession illegal until it hears from the state, even while other cities are doing so. The pattern of waiting for some other authority to take responsibility and give cover was repeated.

Onto the meat of the meeting: Burien Cares to lease 6th and 152nd.

Council moved onto approving Burien Cares to lease the land, formally known as a dog park, on 6th and 152nd St, beginning June 1 @$185 per month for a one-year time frame. These are the stipulations:

 No charge for parking, Burien may advertise the lot for sale, carry liability insurance, and maintain the lot. It must remain open to the public.

Thus began the discussion about the drug addicts, criminals, and derelicts on 6th and 152nd St.:

Jimmy Matta stated that “the County has “ghosted” us….” (It seems as though he is saying that King County will not give Burien the resources it needs to remove the squatters and keep them from coming back.) He also reiterated using our 400K in general funds to deal with the problem that Council Member C. Moore and Charles Schaffer brought into Burien.  

C. Moore stated she couldn’t vote to “actively and intentionally displace the campers.” Still, if it passes, she wants the dollars from the lease (approximately $2220.00) to fund a sanctioned tent city or another shelter IN BURIEN. Or wants the money to go to a King County-sanctioned tent city if the County gives Burien the land to do this. Again, Moore wants a sanctioned camp, pressing that a sanctioned tent city can be *regulated. 

 *Evidence proves that sanctioned tent cities are not solving the problem, going back to Nickelsville in the mid-2000s. 

Nickelsville was born through conflict between homeless people and the city of Seattle; the original founders named their first unsanctioned camp after then-Mayor Greg Nickels in 2008, protesting what they saw as a lack of shelter in the city.


Moore proposed another amendment to the main motion to direct City Manager Bailon not to let the lease take effect unless the squatters have a place to go. 

She then continued to filibuster the meeting to pass her motion not to allow the lease of the property to Burien Cares unless we, as the city of Burien, took responsibility for the placement of the drug addicts. She alluded to the fact that Burien has County property, and we could either place them there or wait for the County to tell Burien to move them there. One option was the Annex (Skate Park), but it would need to go through the Parks Department. Another on-the-table option was the Burien Court House; however, a Judge put the “kibosh” on it, stating that the Court House parking lot was unacceptable for a sanctioned tent city due to the disruption it would cause and the potential safety issues for county staff and citizens on court business. 

Right in lockstep with C. Moore, CM Garcia, does not want to “displace the campers.” He wants a sanctioned tent city and another Burien location to move them to. He stated: “We have a fenced, 53000 sq ft lot to move them to.” This referred to the parcel of land our children play at – the Skate Park at the Annex. But again, this would have to go through the Parks Department.

CM MORA stated that every camper was offered shelter, rehab, and resources, and almost all of them DECLINED. She also stated that enabling these criminals is irresponsible (Paraphrase) and directly stated this pointed comment to C. Moore “It’s grown since YOU enabled them to go there. It is now a sanctioned tent city because of YOU.” 

CM Schilling stated he was in favor of directing the money from the lease ($2220) to human services, not towards a sanctioned camp, not the parks department, and that the County has not stepped up, and other organizations have not stepped up to aid Burien’s “brought-on-plight” of crime and homelessness.

Mayor Aragon reiterated that the outcomes are not good for sanctioned camp squatters or the neighborhoods they illegally squat in (there is no evidence to support otherwise.) (Reference Nickelsville). She did offer her thanks to Matta for contacting SeaMar, and Schilling for contacting the County. She then stated that putting a “due date” would add to the urgency of getting them into housing. “This is an acute situation,” she said. 

Sarah Moore said she could not vote “a yes vote to sweep out” the squatters and then called out Mora for calling out C. Moore for bringing this problem to Burien. 

Another vote on the Amendment to the motion failed 5/2. Here’s the caveat – C.Moore voted YES to pass the Main Motion, then turned around with a Point of Order – A motion to reconsider and thus push the lease of Dog Parkland to the following Council meeting to delay getting the squatters off of that sliver of land and hopefully into a SANCTIONED TENT CITY. 

Garcia seconded her motion. Mayor Aragon announced a 5-minute break.

Once all council members had taken their seats at the Dias, Deputy Mayor Schilling announced a Point of Order- C. Moore’s motion to reconsider and move it to the next council meeting was not made correctly. It was put forward to prevent the majority from voting. Full attendance is here, and therefore, her motion fails. No misrepresentation; there is no reason to reconsider the vote; all council members were present and represented the wishes of Burien.

Mayor Aragon agrees C.Moores’s Motion to Reconsider is out of order; C. Moore appeals. With a collective sigh of relief, her appeal fails. Mora, Schilling, Aragon, Matta all vote to move on. Burien Cares will now be a leaseholder for one year beginning June 1, 2023, for $185 monthly. 

Then C. Moore announced she wanted to rescind her yes vote.

CM SCHILLING called out a POINT OF ORDER! “We are moving on.”

Then he added he wanted to add a calendar item – options to raise the minimum wage: Voter approval or staff pneumatic? He wants to discuss options for raising the wage to be in line w/ sister cities. CM Sarah Moore stated to add a deadline of July 1, but considering the staff’s time. 

The meeting was adjourned with nary a word spoken as they picked up their personal items and headed out. In my view, this council is disjointed and feels the pressure! 

Until next time, #BurienSaysEnough!

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