Initiative drive planned to stop separate North Highline annexations

We’ve received a copy of an initiative that former Burien City Council member Stephen Lamphear plans to pursue to prevent North Highline from being broken up by two separate annexations, as is the current path Burien and Seattle appear to be pursuing. See it here. More to come. ADDED 9:45 PM: Via e-mail, we asked Lamphear what happens next. He explains, “After getting together with the city attorney to agree on official ballot language, we have 120 days to gather signatures from Burien voters.” Why pursue the initiative? we asked. “I’m doing this because the MOU slicing and dicing North Highline is not in Burien’s best interest, gives away the tax paying business areas of NH, and is not the preference of most NH residents. The MOU was negotiated in secret and did not include the most affected — those in NH.” He wants to see Burien annex the entire area, explaining: “Before Burien incorporated in 1993, the entire area was Highline — one community. I live 4 blocks from NH and these are my neighbors. For Seattle, NH is a land grab; to Burien these are our neighbors.”

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15 Responses to “Initiative drive planned to stop separate North Highline annexations”

  1. Martha Koester Says:

    Yes, please. Let’s keep North Highline together. Burien and NH now have all kinds of service-sharing agreements. I like them, and prefer to keep them.

  2. I haven’t yet talked to any North Highline resident who would prefer that the area be split. It’s unthinkable that the Memorandum of Understanding between Seattle and Burien represents the wishes of North Highline residents.

  3. Rick P. of Top Hat Says:

    Stephen Lamphear, you are the Man!! Thank you for taking the time on this initiative. Bringing the area back together is the right thing to do. If Seattle gets it’s greedy ‘hands’ on North Highline, all I see is a bull-doze and build to Seattle’s wishes. THANK YOU!!

  4. I live in White Center and strongly agree that keeping North Highline together provides the brightest future for us. Steve Cox used to say that he supported our annexation to Burien because “what you see is what you get.” What I see in Seattle is the destruction of neighborhoods, the loss of affordable housing, and the concentration of poverty (especially in Seattle’s southend neighborhoods) that limits positive options while increasing gang
    activity and other social problems. Meanwhile, Burien is maintaining its small town atmosphere,increasing affordable housing and preserving single family neighborhoods. Everyone deserves to live in a healthy neighborhood. Burien offers that. Say “No!” to Seattle. Keep North Highline Together!

  5. David Miller Says:

    Annexation is a bad deal for Seattle residents and will exacerbate our budget problems. We cannot take care of the people, streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure we have now. Burien wants the whole area, but back-alley deals by Greg Nickels (who takes it personally that his old KC Council district isn’t inside Seattle city limits) and Ron Sims have blocked that attempt.

    Nickels has spent tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of dollars in staff time and indirect lobbying efforts for this vanity project. Meanwhile, for the lack of $50,000 homeless folks can’t get bus passes to get back and forth between jobs/services and beds.

  6. I concur. Don’t split up North Highline.

  7. I am hoping that by starting the initiative process it will result in giving the Seattle Mayor’s office and the Burien City Council some additional time to stop and re-think their decisions to divide North Highline as is being proposed in their Memorandum of Understanding. The King County funded governance studies that were done showed there was little support among the people of North Highline to have the area split up with different parts of the area being annexed by different cities. For example, in this study when 775 North Highline residents were randomly surveyed, only 16.3 percent preferred that the area be divided and the majority wanted all of North Highline to be kept together and annexed by one city.

  8. Dick Thurnau Says:

    Thanks to Stephen Lamphear for proposing the initiative to keep NH whole. Splitting up NH is outrageous

  9. I think it’s unfair to generalize like this. I have many neighbors around me that would prefer to be annexed into Seattle, and as the plan currently stands, this would happen. Yet another person that wants to impose their feelings on everyone else.

  10. Anon27, have you ever read the North Highline Governance Studies? The majority of people in North Highline want the area to be kept whole. Further, 62 percent of the people agreed with the NHUAC’s recommendation that annexation to Burien was the preferred option. I am not saying you are wrong about your neighbors desires at all, but because of what the studies have shown, this isn’t likely a situation of one person imposing their feelings on everyone else. Instead, it is more like one person doing something that represents the views of the majority of the people in North Highline.

  11. Stephen Lamphear Says:

    Thanks to everyone who knows that breaking up North Highline is not good public policy. Keep it together.

    It really doesn’t matter whether you favor Seattle or Burien, the MOU between the two would splip up neighborhoods. Remember, this agreement was negotiated in secret without any participation by North Highline representatives. Stop the partition of North Highline.

    If you’d like to help gather signatures when the time comes, please contact me at

    Stephen Lamphear

  12. North Highline residents cannot afford the increases in taxes and utilities rates if annexed to Seattle. We live where we do because it is (relatively) affordable. Now some government officials want to slam us with a huge increase in our cost of living. Most NH residents prefer to remain unincorporated, but annexation to Burien is the second choice and would help keep NH an affordable place to live and raise families. Seattle has priced out too many families. Sure we get to vote on annexation, but if Burien closes the door to us, then we really don’t get to choose. How is that democratic?

  13. Having attended NHUAC meetings in the past, it was quickly clear to me that NHUAC has long favored Burien annexation over Seattle. Not surprising that a study paid for by NHUAC would find in favor of Burien. Maybe I haven’t lived in North Highline long enough, but I sure don’t feel any unified sense of community within the unincorporated area. Sure there are neighborhoods within NH that have developed their own character and community, but overall, the only commonality I see within NH is that we are all in the unincorporated area. Some naturally gravitate toward Seattle, some toward Burien. Nothing wrong with that. Given the economical realities of any city annexing an area as large as NH, splitting it seems the only realistic alternative.

  14. At first I balked at the idea of stopping the annexation, but when I discovered that the idea is to keep all of NH together I have been reconsidering. I originally hoped for the entire area to become part of Burien so I throw my initial support behind it. There are some other considerations to take into account about the area, and extra costs, if discovered, would tend to downplay my willingness for this.

  15. Anon32, the NHUAC did NOT pay for the governance studies and had no control whatsoever over the people/firms that did the research. The studies were funded by the King County Council, which also selected the independent firms to do the research–Nesbitt Planning and Management, The Connections Group, and NW Small Cities Services. All of these firms have a long history of doing this type of research and are well respected in their field.

    It was AFTER this research was completed and presented to the NHUAC, that the NHUAC recommened that annexation to Burien was the preferred option.