UPDATE: Power back on after more than 3,500 lose electricity in east White Center, Top Hat, parts of Burien

August 23rd, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, utilities, White Center news 3 Comments »

topofoutage

(Above, the White Center/Top Hat section of the outage)

2:08 AM: Thanks to Alisha for the tip: The Seattle City Light map confirms a big power outage – in two distinct areas, primarily east White Center, Top Hat, and north/northwest Burien. More than 3,500 customers (homes and businesses) are affected. No word yet what caused it; it started around 1:45 am. We’ll update when we find out more.

2:46 AM: Most of the Burien customers have their power back, according to SCL. Still no word on the cause.

4:36 AM: The cause is now listed on SCL’s site as “tree.” No elaboration. And the number of customers out of power is down to just under 700.

UPDATE: Here’s the final word from City Light (with whom we’ll follow up on Monday to find out about WHERE the tree went into the lines):


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FOLLOWUP: Driver in deadly crash charged with vehicular homicide, felony hit-and-run

August 20th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, Crime, White Center news No Comments »

Two felony charges are now filed against the driver found hiding after crashing his car on Ambaum just south of White Center early last Friday, killing his passenger. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged 24-year-old Thuan A. Phan of Kent with vehicular homicide and hit-and-run. Charging documents say Phan was driving the “recently purchased” 2013 BMW southbound on Ambaum at high speed when he lost control at the “S” curves around 119th and slammed into the jersey barrier. 26-year-old Benjamin J. Smith was wearing his seat belt in the front passenger seat but suffered deadly head injuries because of how the car hit the concrete barrier. Nearby residents told deputies that they saw a man climb out of the car after the crash and run away screaming; the Guardian One helicopter spotted him hiding under a pickup truck at a home a few blocks away, his only injuries described as scratches on his legs and neck abrasions. He claimed he had been in the passenger seat and also said he remembered leaving a club; a deputy noticed he smelled like “intoxicants.” Prosecutors asked that Phan’s bail remain at a quarter-million dollars because he had left the crash scene and was reportedly trying to get friends and family to come pick him up.

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FOLLOWUP: Kent man accused of driving ‘three times speed limit’ before deadly crash south of White Center

August 17th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, Crime, White Center news 2 Comments »

Bail has been set at $250,000 for the 24-year-old Kent man arrested in connection with the deadly crash at SW 119th and Ambaum early last Friday. Probable-cause documents say he was driving “at three times the posted speed” and “admitted (he had been) drinking.” The passenger in his car, 26-year-old Benjamin J. Smith, was dead at the scene from what the documents describe as a severe head injury. The suspect, who could be charged with vehicular homicide, ran from the scene and was found – with the help of Guardian One, as shown in our Friday coverage – hiding under a vehicle in a nearby driveway. He’s scheduled to return to court tomorrow afternoon, unless prosecutors file charges by then, in which case his next appearance would be for arraignment.

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UPDATE: Deadly crash on Ambaum, just south of White Center

August 14th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

(KCSO photo)

3:29 AM: The King County Sheriff’s Office says Ambaum is closed from 116th to 120th because of a crash at 119th that killed a man. According to KCSO, the man was a passenger in a car that investigators believe “failed to negotiate a turn” before crashing into a jersey barrier, possibly at high speed. The driver fled the scene but was caught with the help of the Guardian 1 helicopter. No word yet how long the road will be closed.

4:25 AM: Here’s the video released by KCSO Air Support, showing how the search ended:

No update on Ambaum’s status; please comment if you find it reopened, as we won’t be able to check for a few hours.

10 AM: Ambaum reopened about an hour ago, KCSO says.

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Grocery-store changes: First nearby Albertsons-Haggen conversion date set

February 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, White Center news Comments Off on Grocery-store changes: First nearby Albertsons-Haggen conversion date set

As announced back in December, the Burien Albertsons grocery stores are being converted to the Haggen brand. And we’ve just received information on the timetable for the conversion of the store that’s closest to White Center – 12725 First Ave. S. – as announced by the company:

6:00 pm, Sunday, March 8 – Burien Albertsons store closes
12:01 am, Monday, March 9- Haggen takes ownership of the store
4:00 pm*, Tuesday, March 10 – Burien store reopens as Haggen (*Opening time is tentative)

The conversion of the southernmost Burien Albertsons, at Five Corners, is expected to happen in late May.

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Update – found! Earlier – Have you seen Luna the dog?

October 20th, 2014 Tracy Posted in burien, Pets, White Center news Comments Off on Update – found! Earlier – Have you seen Luna the dog?

ORIGINAL REPORT: From the inbox:

My name is Rachael and on 10/18/2014 my Siberian Husky, Luna, got out of our yard. We live at the North end of Burien. I am begging everyone to please keep their eye out for her. She has distinctive “snake bite” marks on her muzzle and a dark mask with blue eyes. She is very friendly and was last seen at 10019 Des Moines Memorial Drive, Burien WA 98168. She is federally registered with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) as a service companion and she is needed and missed. There is a reward for her safe return. Please call Rachael at 775-770-4569 or Cory at 206-683-2112 if she is found or sighted.

THURSDAY UPDATE: King County Sheriff’s Office has this short and sweet update via Twitter:

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Sheriff’s deputies, Seattle Police, others nab Burien bank-robbery suspect, blocks away

February 12th, 2013 Tracy Posted in burien, Crime, White Center news Comments Off on Sheriff’s deputies, Seattle Police, others nab Burien bank-robbery suspect, blocks away

We haven’t turned up any other coverage of this, but we’ve learned there was a bank robbery in northeast Burien yesterday – and a suspect was caught shortly thereafter, so we’re publishing the update here. We heard about it because a reader e-mailed us about a huge multi-agency law-enforcement presence along South 116th and asked us what we knew. KCSO’s White Center Storefront Deputy B.J. Myers looked into it today and tells WCN that “it was a bank robbery at the US Bank at S 120/Des Moines Memorial Drive (City of Burien). The suspect handed a note to the cashier demanding money. The suspect left on foot as Burien Police, KCSO Deputies, Seattle Police, and a Renton PD K9 Officer arrived in the area. The suspect was located a few blocks away and money was recovered. The suspect, a 24 year old male, was booked into King County Jail for Robbery 1st Degree.”

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Update: Multiple-alarm apartment fire in North Burien

January 28th, 2013 Tracy Posted in burien, White Center news 1 Comment »

5:37 PM: Huge fire callout from multiple departments – North Highline and Seattle, SeaTac, Tukwila, Renton, the port – because of an apartment fire in the 12300 block of Ambaum. Traffic is getting through but very slowly so we suggest avoiding the area.

7:35 PM: No injuries reported, and no cause announced so far. The building is actually at 1224 124th, a 24-unit structure that’s almost half a century old, according to county records.

11:11 PM: KIRO TV reports a baseboard-heater problem is blamed for starting the fire.

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‘Empty Bowls’ in Burien today, to help White Center Food Bank (and more)

January 25th, 2013 Tracy Posted in burien, How to Help, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off on ‘Empty Bowls’ in Burien today, to help White Center Food Bank (and more)

If you’re heading south today, consider lunch and/or dinner at the Empty Bowls benefit in Burien, helping food banks including White Center FBfull details here!

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Taking down the tree? Boy Scout Troop 375 can help with that

January 5th, 2013 Tracy Posted in burien, Environment, White Center news Comments Off on Taking down the tree? Boy Scout Troop 375 can help with that

Bring your tree and a bag – leave without tree, with hot chocolate and/or compost! From Boy Scout Troop 375 Scoutmaster Mark Ufkes:

Boy Scout Troop 375 will host its annual Christmas Tree Recycle (today and tomorrow), January 5 and 6 from 9 am to 4 pm at SW 160th and 1st SW (the Herr lumber site) We ask for a $5 donation per tree. Funds go to our scout camp and other troop activities so that all our 28 boys can go to summer camp regardless of their family economic situation.

Free hot chocolate will be served. And our polite boys will remove your tree from your car and share a smile.

Free bags of our “Good Karma Christmas Tree Compost” are available for the asking. Bring a bag!

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Last North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting before the election

November 2nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, North Highline UAC, White Center news 4 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Burien City Manager Mike Martin has spoken countless times at North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meetings. Thursday night, however, each word seemed to carry added weight – not just because of additional scrutiny (a TV camera was rolling), but because this was the last NHUAC meeting until voters in the area decide whether to join his city or not.

So here’s how the meeting unfolded:

ANNEXATION VOTE – THE BURIEN VIEW: Martin started with something of a valedictory as the annexation-vote endgame approached – “the good fight is worth fighting for its own reasons regardless of the outcome.” He cited a “task list that would start .. the day after the vote … We’re ready to go, and ready to move swiftly.” He said he “transmitted my strong hope that the county can move as swiftly as Burien can.” (Negotiations on that “move” would happen after the election, Martin said.) If North Highline residents vote to annex, he promised to talk with NHUAC and citizens “a lot … to make sure our plans include everything that needs to get done.” He would hope for implementation around April 1st, saying “it seems fast … but we had an August vote (last time) and were prepared to (finalize it) in February” aside from one last-minute snag that erupted. “I really look forward to having this area as part of Burien,” he said.

Martin also noted that Burien’s finalizing its next budget on November 5th – next Monday -and insisted that his city is in good financial shape, refuting annexation opponents’ claims otherwise, and hoping to reduce the amount of supplementary “fund balance” it’s been using. He recapped the “radical rejiggering of revenue in this state” as a result of the recession and said cities will need 15 years to recover from it, though he contends Burien is “head and shoulders” above most of its counterparts, thanks to “small things” as well as bigger decisions.

What about the library situation? asked NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin. Martin said an “appropriate resolution to the library question” (the future of the White Center and Boulevard Park branches) is on his list too. She also asked Martin about various contentions that opponents have made, and various issues that have been raised. One was, which Burien business-advocacy group would represent the area if voters approve annexation and it takes effect? “It’s not about competing business districts, it’s about the synergy of having two business centers,” Martin noted, while saying the issue of who will advocate for who, on behalf of the city, has yet to be settled.

Elizabeth Gordon of White Center restaurant Uncle Mike’s Superlicious Barbecue rose to ask Martin questions. One was his prediction. He thinks it’s going to be close but “I really don’t know who’s going to win.” She also asked about services such as animal control. “Ours is a heck of a lot better than the county’s. A heck of a lot better,” he declared, with “a much higher level of service and a much lower cost.” NHUAC member Stephen Porter said that he has had his dog in the care of Burien’s service twice now and is happy with it.

Gordon also had asked about services for senior citizens and refugees, and Martin said that the former is “getting more active” while the latter would probably have to grow and evolve; he says the Burien council is “very committed to the diverse communities.” Her final question was about the Roxbury/16th intersection and how it’s affected by the marijuana businesses in the heart of White Center; Martin’s reply veered into whether statewide Initiative 502 would pass and what that would mean for city employees. (Right now, Burien does not allow dispensaries at all.)

Asked about claims that annexation would bring more bureaucracy to simple acts like cutting a tree at a person’s own home, another point annexation opponents have cited, Martin declared it “consummate b******t.”

KING COUNTY ROADS, THE TIERED SYSTEM: Jay Osborne returned to talk about the current situation with the county and how roads will be dealt with in the unincorporated areas. “In the county, we have a dedicated property tax that can only be spent on roads,” he explained. (He had made a presentation to NHUACback in xx.) It’s an “antiquated funding structure,” he declared – to deal with a system the county says would take $39 billion to build in today’s dollars and conditions. Road revenues have dropped about 20 percent in recent years, as the county gets less road tax and less gas tax.

As the county had said in the last briefing, they don’t have the money to care for the entire system, so they expect to close some roads and bridges in the years ahead. Right now, none in White Center are failing, he said – “you guys are lucky.” Some storm damage from previous years has not been repaired yet. They are working right now to look at where they will be able to plow if it snows: “In 2014 we will not plow any category 2 or 3 roadways” and they will only have the resources to plow half of category 1 roadways. (That means roads that are important for safety, he elaborated in response to a question later – saying that “in this area, that may only mean Roxbury and 16th get plowed.”)

“We are in the process of selling off a number of facilities, of properties we own … and we’re reducing service out there to balance the budget as we go forward,” he summarized.

He also said the road budget has lost some money to the King County Sheriff’s Office in the service of traffic enforcement, by decision of the King County Executive and Council. And he noted that the County Council could choose to propose a Transportation Benefit District fee and ask voters to approve it, though even a $20 fee countywide would raise only $4.5 million, while “our hole is $55 million.”

They will be asking the state for help. (But, one person in the audience asked, aren’t they having “the same money problems?” Osborne said the legislature would be mulling an excise tax that might help ease the problem – “if they have the political will.”

Will any roads really be left to revert to gravel? Dobkin asked. Osborne said the first are three roads in a rural area; in the future, “the pothole issue” would help determine a road’s fate.

Osborne says there might be a problem with the South Park Bridge – specifically with a caisson – when asked about its expected completion (fall 2013) – so “conversations” are happening now. In the meantime, he says, demolition of what remains of the old bridge is scheduled to start “soon.”

BOUNDARY REVIEW BOARD: Pat Price attended the recent Boundary Review Board meeting regarding the Duwamish Triangle annexation. She said the board will not deliberate until November 8th, hoping to hear by then how Burien annexation will turn out. She says that meeting will be held at Beverly Park School. It matters among other reasons because North Highline Fire District currently serves that area – which has “a big tax base,” as Dobkin noted.

TRANSPORTATION: The recent Metro bus changes are a concern here too, since White Center has been affected. There’s talk of setting up a focused discussion in the future.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets first Thursdays, 7 pm, North Highline Fire District HQ.

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Grocery-store employees help catch suspect in restroom attack

September 29th, 2012 Tracy Posted in burien, Crime, White Center news Comments Off on Grocery-store employees help catch suspect in restroom attack

Though the store in this story is in Burien, it’s close enough to White Center that some may shop there, so we’re sharing this report just received from the King County Sheriff’s Office:

A 32 year old man was arrested today after assaulting an 11 year old boy in a grocery store bathroom.

The incident occurred just after noon in the Albertson’s store at 128th and 1 Ave S in Burien. The boy went into the bathroom while his family shopped. The suspect entered the bathroom and grabbed the boy by the neck and told him he would “kill him.”

The boy fought the suspect off and as they struggled, the bathroom stall door was slamming open and shut. An employee in the break room next to the bathroom heard the commotion and went to investigate.

When the employee opened the bathroom door she saw the suspect naked from the waist down holding the boy in a bear hug. The employee grabbed the boy and pulled him out of the bathroom while trying to block the suspect from leaving.

The suspect fled and ran towards the front of the store as the employee and boy yelled for help. A group of store employees caught the suspect before he could leave the store. The employees tackled him and held him down until police arrived.

Police credit the boy for fighting back and the employees for coming to his aid.

“The employees acted very quickly and did the right thing,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. “They stopped what could have been every parent’s nightmare.”

The suspect, who said he was homeless, was booked in the King County Jail. The case will be sent to the King County Prosecutors Office for the filing of charges.

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2 1/2 months till annexation vote; next info session tonight

August 23rd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news Comments Off on 2 1/2 months till annexation vote; next info session tonight

Something you want to know about the Burien annexation proposal before you vote? Tonight is your next chance to ask questions and get answers, in person – the traveling presentation/Q&A session comes to the White Center Food Bank (108th and 8th). 6 pm.

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Burien annexation? Info session tonight, and 3 more dates set

July 12th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news 4 Comments »

Tonight at 6 pm at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge (9910 8th SW), it’s your next chance to find out about annexation, with four months to go till the November vote. And the City of Burien has announced the next three dates/locations. From the city website:

August 23: White Center Food Bank, 10829 8th Ave SW, 6 pm

September 13: Beverly Park Elementary School, cafeteria, 1201 S. 104th Street, 6 pm

October 18: Cascade Middle School, cafeteria, 11212 10th Ave SW, 6 pm

And as noted previously, the city also will have a booth at the Jubilee Days street festival on Saturday, July 21st:

Staff will be there 10 am – 8 pm to answer questions and pass out informational brochures including copies in Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Somali.

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Followup: SWAT standoff, arrest following armed robbery on 8th SW

June 22nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in burien, Crime Comments Off on Followup: SWAT standoff, arrest following armed robbery on 8th SW

We got a few calls/notes about a SWAT standoff near the Evergreen campus late Wednesday night/early Thursday. Sorry that it’s taken a while to get the details, but we now have them, thanks to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West: She says a 47-year-old woman was held up while walking in the 11600 block of 8th SW, headed for a bus stop after leaving a friend’s house. The victim told police a man “pointed a gun at her and told her to give him everything she had,” according to Sgt. West. After she did that, the robber ran off. She walked in the same direction in which he had fled – southbound – and saw him go down SW 117th and up the steps to a house. She still had her cell phone and used it to call 911, which brought deputies, including a K-9 team that tracked the suspect to the house the victim had seen him enter. The suspect didn’t come out voluntarily, but a search warrant was finally obtained, at which time SWAT officers went in and found and arrested him. Sgt. West says he was jailed for investigation of robbery, and it’ll be up to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to decide on charges.

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VIDEO: Will White Center become part of Burien? City leaders come to WC for annexation-info meeting

June 21st, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news 12 Comments »

If you couldn’t make it to tonight’s first White Center informational session about November’s North Highline vote on Burien annexation – you can watch our video of the entire hour-long meeting, starting with the introduction by Burien city staffer Nhan Nguyen, describing it as a homecoming of sorts, since he worked previously for the WC Community Development Association.

Some toplines:

Most of the basic information was presented by Burien’s city manager Mike Martin, who said that if annexation is approved by a majority of North Highline voters in November, the area could be part of his city by this time next year. What would that mean? He addressed a variety of points – as well as what it would NOT mean. Referring to the sudden appearance of a raised divider down 16th SW in the heart of downtown WC, and a short-lived county proposal to sell Puget Sound Park, he declared, “We don’t do things that way.” He also touted Burien’s permit process as much better than what unincorporated-area residents and businesses have had to deal with through King County.

The first audience question answered by Martin was a pointed one: What would happen to the marijuana dispensaries in the North Highline area if it’s annexed? Burien doesn’t allow them, replied Martin (as he has said at previous community meetings); joining the meeting later, Police Chief Scott Kimerer addressed the topic again, saying that state and federal laws would be enforced – and acknowledging they may change. He also said that White Center would retain its law-enforcement storefront.

Martin sought to reassure White Center/North Highline residents and businesspeople on hand that they respect and appreciate WC’s unique character and don’t want to change it, but instead, just to support it. He also had harsh words for Burien residents who oppose annexing White Center and vicinity, calling them “small-minded and mean-spirited.” One concern that was raised about the annexation plan: Burien resident Chestine Edgar sought to challenge the issue of how much money Burien would get from the state sales-tax credit made available for annexation situations like this.

As first reported here earlier this week, the second informational meeting in White Center is scheduled for July 12th at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge … and Nguyen told tonight’s audience that Burien will have a presence at Jubilee Days (July 21-22) to answer questions and provide information.

Meantime, Burien’s info page – including the official FAQ in five languages, among other resources – can be found here. Our archive of WCN annexation coverage, newest to oldest, is here.

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Tonight’s the night: Burien-annexation forum in White Center

June 21st, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news 1 Comment »

Burien leaders are promising informational forums at least once a month between now and the November North Highline annexation vote, and tonight is the first official public event – 6 pm at 3.14 Bakery in downtown White Center. (For a sneak peek at what it might be like, here’s our coverage of their presentation last month at Glen Acres.)

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Another annexation-information event set: Dubsea Coffee on July 12th

June 18th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news Comments Off on Another annexation-information event set: Dubsea Coffee on July 12th

As previously reported, the next annexation-information session presented by the City of Burien is at 6 pm this Thursday (June 21st) at 3.14 Bakery, 9602 16th Ave SW. And now we have a date for the one that will follow it – 6 pm July 12th (also a Thursday) at Dubsea Coffee, 9910 8th Ave SW. This is from the info packet for tonight’s Burien City Council meeting, which also notes:

Informational brochures are being printed and will be available for the June session. All North Highline residents and businesses will receive the June edition of Burien City News, which includes details on the informational sessions. Information about the proposed annexation is available at: www.burienwa.gov/annexation or send an email to annexation@burienwa.gov.

Pending final ballot approval by the county, the annexation measure is scheduled to go before voters in November.

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Annexation vote: Burien seeking volunteers for committees that will write pro/con ballot statements

June 14th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news Comments Off on Annexation vote: Burien seeking volunteers for committees that will write pro/con ballot statements

Just out of the WCN inbox:

Members are being sought for Pro and Con Committees to prepare statements on the proposed
annexation of North Highline that will be included in the King County Local Voters’ Pamphlet.

At its April 2 meeting, the Burien City Council adopted Resolution No. 330, placing Proposition
1 on the November 6, 2012, General Election ballot. Proposition 1 is the North Highline Area “Y”
Annexation Area proposed annexation to the City of Burien.

This proposition seeks voter approval of the annexation into the City of Burien of an
area commonly known as the North Highline Area “Y” Annexation Area. The area consists of
approximately 2,045 acres and 17,392 residents. The area is generally described as lying north of
the corporate boundaries of the City of Burien, south and east of the corporate boundaries of the
City of Seattle, and west of SR-99 adjacent to the City of Tukwila and the City of Tukwila corporate
boundaries. The area is legally described in Resolution No. 330.

Each committee’s statement must be no more than 200 words in length and must be submitted to
King County Elections no later than 4:30 pm on August 15, 2012. Any rebuttal statements are due by
August 17, 2012. There is a limit of three members per committee, but committees may seek advice
of any person or persons.

Committee member appointments will be made during the open public meeting of the Burien City
Council on July 16, 2012, sometime after 7:00 pm. Candidates need not be present to be appointed.
Persons interested in applying for one of the committee positions should submit their name,
contact information, and a brief statement as to why they would like to serve on one of the
committees. Submittals are due no later than Friday, July 6, 2012, at 4 pm to Monica Lusk, City
Clerk, Burien City Hall, 400 SW 152nd Street, Ste. 300, Burien, 98166, call (206) 248-5517, or email
monical@burienwa.gov.

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Date announced for first annexation-information forum in White Center

May 30th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, burien, White Center news Comments Off on Date announced for first annexation-information forum in White Center

From Nhan Nguyen at the City of Burien:

The first informational forum on the proposed annexation of North Highline by the City of Burien will be at 3.14 Bakery (9602 16th Ave SW) on June 21 at 6 pm. We plan to hold one forum per month at various locations to answer questions the community may have on the issue. For additional information including the FAQs, please visit our website: burienwa.gov/annexation.

City reps already have held one forum, at the invitation of Glen Acres residents; here’s our coverage.

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