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.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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: or send an email to

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

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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:

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

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline annexation: Burien’s informational roadshow starts at Glen Acres

May 14th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Boulevard Park, Burien, White Center news 4 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

The second North Highline annexation-election info campaign has begun, with almost six months to go until the expected November vote.

This wasn’t technically a campaign event, in terms of pushing a particular point of view, but rather, Burien’s first “outreach” event this time around. Glen Acres Country Club played host; the meeting was not widely promoted, as the clubhouse there had only capacity for the with about three dozen people in attendance.

Standing in front of a sweeping wall of glass that ironically had a distant view of downtown Seattle – the city that had dibs on this area but chose not to pursue – Burien city manager Mike Martin (top photo) led the presentation – “You’re the very first public forum that we’ve having,” he told them, promising to offer “high-level remarks” but also focus on questions. Other Burien reps included Police Chief Scott Kimerer and city analyst Nhan Nguyen, who worked for White Center Community Development Association before joining the city last year.

Unveiled tonight was the new official FAQ/fact sheet regarding annexation and what it would be like if it is approved and implemented by the Burien City Council, likely to take effect, city manager Martin said, in spring 2013.

It does not appear to be online as of this writing, but includes these bullet points:
*2,045 acres proposed for annexation
*About 17,400 people (last census; 2010 numbers not crunched yet)
*White Center, Top Hat, Beverly Park, Glendale included, along with parts of Boulevard Park, Riverton Heights, and Shorewood
*Burien would take over North Shorewood, White Center Heights, Lakewood parks, while Steve Cox Memorial Park would stay with the county, as a regional facility

Many things don’t change, he said. So – he acknowledged, one big question – what DOES change?

“A very progressive governance in Burien .. would focus its attention on this area,” is one major thing.

First question:

Would Burien go to the Port of Seattle to have this area designated as a noise-abatement area, given that “planes fly so low through here … my son (a pilot) can pick out my garage door”? asked a woman. (Planes could be heard rumbling overhead now and then throughout the meeting.)

Martin’s answer boiled down to no, although he said some things can be addressed, such as “if they start flying really lousy patterns.”

Burien councilmember Jerry Robison (foreground in photo), who said he hadn’t come intending to speak but did end up answering more than a few questions, chimed in that while the noise situation isn’t under local control, things can be done “to make them be better neighbors.”

Chief Kimerer spoke next. “I hope we’re getting to a point where we have some resolution .. the story hasn’t changed regarding what would change with police services. Regarding what we’ve accomplished with the first annexation, I’ve heard very positive comments. … What we’re hoping, and what our plan is, is providing at least the same level of service provided out here with the Sheriff’s Office. I am going to take most of the people who work out here and they will be in a green uniform one day and a blue uniform the next.”

He said they would look forward to keeping the White Center storefront. But he said “being in a city, as opposed to being in a county,” gives law enforcers “more tools” to deal with problems – such as proposing ordinances. The bigger team he has since the previous annexation, he said, gave Burien PD a “bigger team” for “different strategies,” including a gang unit, undercover enforcement, the “Secret Squirrel stuff” that’s “really cool,” and more. Ultimately, they have a “lot of flexibility” in dealing with emerging trends, he said.

Next question – what about enforcement of “junk cars … in the right of way” and similar nuisances? asked an attendee, wondering if Burien would have more code-enforcement officers. That’s primarily a city staffing issue, the chief noted, while adding that his officers are “very aware” of those issues. Martin added that the city feels it’s “a quality of life issue that we can address.” Councilmember Robison also jumped into the discussion, noting that as a real-estate lawyer, he has been on both sides of such cases. He acknowledged that King County’s code-enforcement officer for this area “also covers Vashon Island, Skyway, and other areas,” while Burien’s officer has a much-smaller area to handle.

Martin then elaborated: “There are two schools of code enforcement … you go out and everything you see, you go after, or, you go after everything that is reported.”

Next question: If annexation is approved, will Burien reassess the property? Robison pointed out that cities don’t control assessments, the county does. “So your tax-assessed value would not change as a result of the annexation.” Martin took the occasion to point out that of your tax dollar, most of the money goes to the school district (currently >Highline Public Schools, which is how it would remain post-annexation), while only a small portion (12 cents) goes to the city. Robison suggested checking your annual property tax bill to see what part of the money goes where.

As noted on the FAQ/fact-sheet, your taxes/fees will go up about $90/year if you have a residence worth $200,000, said Martin. It was clarified in response to another question, that none of the increase results from the school district (one man pointed out that there are no kids at Glen Acres, so “what’s in it (school tax) for me?”) – the area remains in the Highline Public Schools district, annexed or not annexed. Martin took the occasion to counter that there is “something in it” for everyone, parents or not – “human capital.”

One difference: Burien has a business-and-occupation tax, while the county does not. Would the Glen Acres clubhouse pay that? Councilmember Robison pointed out some exceptions, such as, no tax on alcohol sales. Membership fees don’t count either, he said. Martin promised more research on some of the specifics that would apply to Glen Acres.

“Would this change our address from Seattle to Burien?” Martin’s reply: “Yes and no, no and no … you can put Seattle on it and it will still get to you, but your correct city would be Burien.”

Is there an option to stay unincorporated? it was asked. “It is possible …” said Martin. “There is nothing that compels residents to be part of any city … but I’ll tell you something: What you’ve seen in the last couple years is a gradual decline in the amount of money the county is able to put into areas like this … and it’s getting worse and worse. It’s not doom and gloom, it’s just a fact; if the County Executive was standing here with me, he’d agree. … Once that decline starts, it’s very difficult to get on top of. Roads, once they get to a certain lack of maintenance, are (more expensive to fix/restore).”

He said he fears that if it stays unincorporated, “this area right on our border will be neglected … Remaining in unincorporated King County for another five years is not going to be pretty.”

Asked about crime rates, Chief Kimerer said there’s an index which shows 53 per thousand for Burien, 62 per thousand for Seattle – overall, he said, there’s no “vast difference” in crime rates, and overall, Burien crime has been going down; the index used to be 75, he said.

He also was asked about traffic enforcement, and whether the city would ever have a dedicated traffic-enforcement officer. According to the chief, all the officers are trained in radar, and traffic becomes part of many people’s jobs. “Burien PD does write traffic tickets,” affirmed Robison. “Particularly in school zones.” Traffic-calming measures also were mentioned.

Other questions included property values and building codes. Will Burien’s procedures be cheaper/more streamlined? Martin said he believes his city is “head and shoulders over the county” in terms of process.

Counties, he reminded everyone, are not “built” to handle urban services. “I’m not telling you that we’re going to come in and the world is going to change,” he said, but a city is better suited to serve residents’ needs.

How’s the previous annexation going? one attendee then asked.

It’s been more than 2 years now, Martin began his answer – 14,000 residents brought in $550,000 state sales-tax credit. He said Burien didn’t add any more staff, though it did add some police officers. “We went through this whole rancorous process, but when we actually did it, it was like shouting into the Grand Canyon, it was great, and I think people are satisfied and happy,” he said.

Chief Kimerer said for his department, “it was seamless”; they added 13 officers, and the crime rate went down. As he acknowledged, the previous annexation area is residential, no businesses, unlike this one. “It’s been really a deafening silence,” he said. Councilmember Robison said, “I haven’t heard any complaints.”

Martin pointed out that because of a Seattle lobbying effort, this annexation would bring the city 10 times the sales-tax-credit revenue, though he quickly added, “this will be a more complex annexation … we’re going to be adding more staff and planners and code enforcement … it’s going to take about two years for everything to settle down.”

Then came the thorny subject of animal control (as discussed at the last North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting). Martin said he’s proud of his decision to terminate the relationship with King County’s animal control and believes there’s a higher level of service now. He said he doesn’t know the current euthanasia rate; however, he said, animal control “is a discretionary function. He said the newest stats will be available next month in a report, though “if our euthanasia rates are higher than the county, I’m good with that.”

What about coyotes? asked a woman.

Martin said he could relate because, when he lived in Auburn, he lost his dog to a coyote. If there is a problem animal, he said, they get state Fish and Wildlife to come out – “they have people specially trained to trap and shoot them.”

He was asked about urban-renewal projects, and mentioned the Burien plan to move auto dealers over to a particular area north of the third runway, to reclaim commercial land that auto businesses had been using elsewhere, particularly on downtown 1st Avenue.

Robison said that with annexation, Burien would hope to encourage more development beyond the current heart of Burien – Top Hat and White Center, for example – and “build this up so we don’t have vacant tracts and empty buildings sitting around.”

Before rezoning, Martin promised, “we’re going to ask – ‘what’s your vision?’ Then it becomes your obligation to tell people what you want, to participate.”

Resident Bob Price said he considers annexation “a chance to take care of your own destiny.”

“Bob is right,” said Martin. “There’s a choice here.”

And there’s more information – at, or answers to questions if you e-mail Watch for word of the next meeting.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Video: Burien City Council votes in favor of annexation election – in November

April 2nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news 4 Comments »

(TOPLINE: Burien councilmembers have voted 4-3 in favor of an annexation election for residents of White Center and environs – but after changing the plan so that it would go on the November ballot, not the August ballot.)

(ADDED TUESDAY – WCN video of Burien councilmembers speaking before the vote. Unedited but starts about two sentences into CM McGilton’s remarks)
7:05 PM: We’re in the Burien City Council chambers, where Deputy Mayor Rose Clark is presiding in Mayor Brian Bennett‘s absence as the council starts its regular meeting. We’re here because of one particular item on the agenda – whether to set the date for a vote on annexation of most of the rest of North Highline. The meeting is beginning with a special guest appearance by King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, who says she is “delighted” to have part of Burien back under her wing as the result of the recent redistricting. We’ll be updating as this meeting proceeds – mostly about public commenters speaking about annexation, and then the council agenda item, unless something else inbetween seems to be of White Center interest. More to come!

7:30 PM: The public-comment period is now under way. First person speaking is Goodspaceguy, who does not seem to be speaking about annexation. Roger Delorum speaks next, talking about “fiscally irresponsible” data regarding annexation. “If this annexation happens, someone is going to gain financially, and it’s not going to be the citizens of Burien.” His short remarks were followed by those of Doug Harrell, who says he’s urging the council to move forward with the annexation, saying it would bring “opportunities of scale.” He adds that he believes people in those area will “have a voice in their future as part of Burien, and I have no confidence they would have a voice as a part of Seattle.” Unlike many other local governments, he says, Burien is in good financial shape, and its leaders “would not consider going forward if it were not prudent for the citizenry” – himself included. He was followed by Joey Martinez. He notes that he works for Seattle and it has a lot to offer North Highline, but: “I feel that Burien is the superior option” for annexing what’s left of North Highline. He says he doesn’t mind which election the council decides to use, August or November, but he thinks they should make a decision on one or the other tonight.

7:38 PM: Next speaker, Elizabeth Gordon, who is a White Center business co-owner. She says she and her customers favor being annexed to Burien. She is talking about how businesses, citizens, and organizations in the unincorporated area are “coming together” to work on improving their area, and she thinks that “supportive network” will help bring a good turnout, even in the summertime vote. She is followed by Aaron Garcia. He says he grew up in White Center, went to Cascade Middle School, Evergreen High School, UW, and he is here “in support of the resolution” to send annexation to voters. “No matter where you lie in this, whether you think White Center is a problem or has potential, we need someone to hear our voices, we need someone to advocate for us … I really, really support moving forward for this and I am a huge advocate for this.” After him comes Sandra Hopp, who says she lives in the recently annexed area and wasn’t for it then but is glad to be part of Burien now. After her is Gill Loring, who lives in the unincorporated area, and is talking about his graffiti-fighting activities in conjunction with the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. He brings up the abandoned, overgrown, graffiti-covered former El Chalan restaurant – “We’re trying to get that taken care of.” He says he did a straw poll in his neighborhood, overwhelmingly in favor of being annexed by Burien.

7:48 PM: Next at the podium, Ed Dacy, who says he’s been coming to meetings about annexation for 10 years. “I’ve kept an open mind, I’ve looked at the studies …” He thinks the potential financial picture for annexation is even brighter than those studies have shown. “I can’t see a reason not to annex – I think we should go ahead with it.” He also noted that “one strong proponent of annexation … was not able to be here tonight,” referring to Liz Giba of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and North Highline Fire District Board. After him, Chestine Edgar: She counters by saying that some people who speak about the financial studies, in her assessment, “clearly have not read” the reports, and cites some past reports she says forecast financial difficulty for Burien if annexation was pursued. She says annexation “is not an economically sound idea for the city of Burien,” and does not want to see it put before voters. Besides that, she talks about the lack of agreement between fire districts, a lack of a business plan, and the fact the “sliver on a river”‘s fate has not yet been resolved, and she criticizes NHUAC for “pushing annexation,” just as her time runs out.

7:56 PM: NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin is speaking now, noting that “questions continue to be raised” about NHUAC’s identity and purpose. She says annexation is an issue that affects them, “affects our future,” but it’s not “the only thing we are working on.” She says everyone is invited to their meetings – one’s coming up this Thursday, and will take a look at the Technology Access Foundation project under construction in Lakewood Park. She also speaks about NHUAC’s close relationship with the King County Sheriff’s Office. “The Seattle model of policing differs greatly from what would be offered in Burien,” Dobkin observes, and brings up the US Department of Justice investigation of Seattle Police. She says she feels the timing of the election should be left up to the Burien Council. The next speaker is Robbie Howell who says that she feels “the deck has been stacked against the citizens of Burien,” regarding its finances; she believes services have been on the decline and that Burien can’t afford to “acquire an area that has problems also.” Then Tina Holmes speaks, on behalf of Liz Giba, who she says suffered a stroke eight days ago, and is in Riverton Rehabilitation Center. She speaks of many people lost in recent years who were strong supporters of Burien annexation of North Highline. Holmes holds up a T-shirt she says her sister had made years ago – a blue T-shirt with white lettering, “Say No to Seattle.” She is the last speaker, and now the council moves to other business.

8:33 PM: A long presentation about Seattle City Light‘s strategic plan ensued, with SCL superintendent Jorge Carrasco, who deputy mayor Clark noted is the first SCL rep she recalls seeing here in the years she’s been on the council. Councilmember Jack Block Jr. is grilling Carrasco, and now Mayor Brian Bennett has arrived.

8:45 PM: Not to annexation yet; the council agreed to City Manager Mike Martin‘s suggestion to shelve a discussion of the transportation agenda, but is going ahead with what several said they hope would be a “short presentation” by Discover Burien, whose leaders are talking about their increased outreach and programming.

8:51 PM: And now, they’re on to the annexation resolution. Councilmember Block moves to table the motion. A roll-call voice vote is requested. Bennett: No, Clark: No, Block: Yes, Edgar: Yes, Krakowiak: Yes, McGilton: No, Robison: No. So the motion to table fails. Bennett now moves to ask King County to set the date for November.

9:29 PM:
After half an hour of discussion, the council has just voted 4 to 3 to send annexation to the ballot – but in November, not August. Yes votes were Bennett, Clark, McGilton, and Robison no votes were Block, Edgar, and Krakowiak. We have the half-hour of discussion on video and will add it to this story when we are back at HQ and it is processed. The King County Council will have to formally approve the annexation election, which would involve the prospective annexation area, NOT the people who already are residents of Burien.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tonight: Will Burien City Council put annexation on the August ballot?

April 2nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news Comments Off on Tonight: Will Burien City Council put annexation on the August ballot?

They can vote tonight … they can vote in two weeks … they can decide to not vote at all … they can decide to vote lots later and try for the November election instead … the possibilities are many; the agenda is here, for tonight’s Burien City Council meeting, 7 pm at council chambers (400 SW 152nd), which COULD result in a decision to put remainder-of-North-Highline annexation on the August 7th ballot. If you can’t be there, the live video feed will be on

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Burien council sets date for considering whether to proceed with North Highline annexation election

March 19th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news Comments Off on Burien council sets date for considering whether to proceed with North Highline annexation election

Just in from tonight’s Burien City Council meeting: They’ve set April 2nd, their next meeting, as the date to “consider” whether to proceed with an annexation election. Under a timeline set out by city administration, they would have to decide either then, or April 16th, that they wanted an August 7th election, in order for that to proceed through the system in enough time for that to happen.

Addressing one ongoing concern, City Manager Mike Martin told the council he has sought repeated assurances that the sales-tax credit will remain in the state budget – and so far, it’s still there. Burien says that money is vital to being able to afford the annexation. (At one point, Governor Gregoire had proposed cutting it, but that proposal stalled.) Councilmember Jack Block Jr. wondered what the latest date for a decision would be if they were seeking to put annexation on the November ballot instead of the August ballot.

During the public-comment section at the start of the meeting, 12 of the 15 speakers talked about annexation – seven against, five for. Among the pro-annexation speakers was Vera Johnson, proprietor of Village Green Perennial Nursery:

She said she decided at the last minute to show up and speak; she believes it would be overwhelmingly positive for Burien to annex White Center. We have the entire public-comment period on video, along with the discussion on the annexation item, and will add those clips as soon as they are uploaded following our crew’s return to HQ.

ADDED 11:12 PM: Here’s the video from the public-comment period. It is unedited, starting with the second speaker during that part of the meeting, the first one to address the annexation issue, and continuing through the last speaker, who also talked about annexation:

At about 34 minutes into the video, Barbara Dobkin speaks to the council for, she said, the first time as North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president, recounting the council’s support for annexation, and its accomplishments in recent years, including advocacy on behalf of concerned residents dealing with difficult issues.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Annexation election on August 7th, or not? Burien Council advised to decide within a month

March 16th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news Comments Off on Annexation election on August 7th, or not? Burien Council advised to decide within a month

The agenda and “packet” for next Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting are now published online, and among the agenda items is:

Discussion Regarding If and When to Adopt Resolution No. 330, Requesting King County to Hold a Special Election on August 7, 2012 for the Purpose of Placing on the Ballot a Proposition Concerning Annexation of the North Highline Area “Y” Annexation Area

Burien city administration’s recommendation, according to the agenda documents, is that the council schedule its vote for either the April 2nd meeting or the April 16th meeting. In order to make all necessary deadlines for having an August 7th annexation election, the documents say, the County Council has to adopt an ordinance creating the annexation ballot measure by May 7th. (You can see the agenda documentation for yourself by going here.)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Update: Missing Burien boy turns up, safe

February 2nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Burien, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Update: Missing Burien boy turns up, safe

8:55 PM UPDATE: Missing boy has been found – he turned up at home, according to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West. Original coverage after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Boundary Review Board annexation hearing, night 2: There will be a night 3

January 10th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news 7 Comments »

This first part will sound a lot like last night’s initial report: After a second three-hour of testimony, the Washington State Boundary Review Board for King County will meet for a third night – but no more public comment. You’re invited to their 7 pm January 23rd meeting at a location TBA, but it’s all about their deliberations, no more testimony. (Here’s who’s on the board, in case you wondered.) WCN co-publisher Patrick Sand recorded tonight’s meeting at White Center’s Cascade Middle School on video again and we’ll add that in the hours ahead, once it’s processed (unedited, but still takes time to upload). He says that after last night’s testimony was weighted toward opposition to Burien annexation of White Center and most of the rest of unincorporated North Highline, tonight’s went the other way, with more pro-annexation speakers than anti-.

Of note – this time around is VERY different than March 2009, when the Boundary Review Board’s hearing on the first Burien/North Highline annexation lasted for ONE night, less than two hours, and ended with a preliminary vote in favor of the proposal. Here’s our as-it-happened coverage from that night almost three years ago. Meantime, more to come on what happened tonight.

ADDED EARLY WEDNESDAY: The first video clip, almost 2 hours, includes all the Tuesday night testimony:

The second, a little more than an hour (following a break called by the board), includes the city of Burien’s rebuttal and replies to questions asked during the first night:

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Recycling your tree: Here are some options!

January 2nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Burien, Environment, Holidays, West Seattle, White Center news Comments Off on Recycling your tree: Here are some options!

If you had a one-use tree this holiday season – here’s how to recycle it.

If you have Waste Management pickup service, you can put it out with your yard waste this week, as long as you follow these rules:

Waste Management collects Christmas trees from its residential customers. Be sure the tree is cut into three-foot sections and remove any tree stands, nails, tinsel and decorations.

If you are within Seattle city limits, you can take your tree to the South Transfer Station in South Park, as long as it’s not taller than eight feet (rules here).

Wherever you live, you are welcome to help out local nonprofits with these two tree-cycling events coming up next weekend:

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Boy Scout Troop 375 Christmas Tree Recycle
January 7 – 8, 2012 (9 to 4)
Five Corners (160th and 1st Avenue in Burien)
$5 per tree
“Good Karma” Christmas Tree Mulch available for $25 donation per yard

SATURDAY, TWO LOCATIONS: The West Seattle Rainbow Girls will hold their fifth annual Christmas tree recycle fundraiser January 7 at the Alki Masonic Hall 4736 40th Ave. SW. and also at the Southgate Masonic Hall located at 1004 SW 152nd in Burien from 10:00 – 2:00. Suggested donation $5.00. No flocked trees please. For more information please contact Jan Hunter at 206-849-7906. Check out the Rainbow Girls by going to

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Man seriously injured in Burien attack; relative calls it a ‘hate crime’

November 18th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Burien, White Center news 2 Comments »

Friends of the victim’s family are casting a net far and wide to try to help investigators solve an attack last night. First, here’s what the King County Sheriff’s Office says about it, in a news release just sent out:

A 21 year old man was severely beaten as he walked home from downtown Burien last night around 9 pm.

Joshua Sheen arrived home around 9 pm bloody and had to crawl to get into the house. He had “pretty much everything in his face fractured” said his sister Brianna Davey. Sheen also had teeth knocked out and according to Davey had “internal bleeding and had to have his spleen removed.”

Sheen was missing his cell phone, shoes and possibly his wallet. Sheen had no recollection of how he was injured.

King County Sheriff Deputies searched several blocks attempting to locate where the incident occurred but was unable to locate any evidence.

Sheen is 5’7” tall and weighs about 140 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket and dark jeans. “We are hoping that someone saw something and will come forward,” said his sister Davey.

If you have any information about this crime please call the King County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 206-296-7530 or email us at

We received this through a mass e-mail sent to media all over the region by multiple people who are friends of Sheen’s uncle, comedian Derek Sheen. They forwarded this note from him:

My nephew, who is a special needs adult, was the victim of a hate crime. He is currently at Harborview Medical Center, in ICU on life support. There is a chance he may not recover. I’m asking residents in the area to please contact local media and ask them for help in gathering information and public support to assist in the capture and prosecution of the person or persons responsible. Any help or information is greatly appreciated.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Election 2011: Winners include McDermott, Giba, Curry, and, in Burien, annexation opponent Edgar

November 9th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on Election 2011: Winners include McDermott, Giba, Curry, and, in Burien, annexation opponent Edgar

In tonight’s election, though the results won’t be final for weeks, some things are clear after just the first round of ballot-counting. White Center’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott has won election to his first full four-year term, leading Diana Toledo, 67%-32%. … In the North Highline Fire District contest, Liz Giba leads Mark Ufkes, 52%-47% … In the only contest for Highline School Board, incumbent president Sili Savusa is losing to Tyrone Curry, who has gained some fame for his lottery win and subsequent donation, 55% for Curry to 44% for Savusa … Burien had three council races on the ballot, and one of the city’s most outspoken opponents of annexing White Center (and vicinity) has defeated an incumbent: Bob Edgar has 60% of the vote, to 40% for Gordon Shaw. In the other two races, incumbent Lucy Krakowiak one of two “no” votes on last month’s annexation resolution – leads former North Highline Unincorporated Area Council chair Greg Duff, 64%-36%, while pro-annexation incumbent Jerry Robison leads Debi Wagner, 54%-46%. Next ballot count is due around 4:30 tomorrow afternoon.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Annex most of the rest of North Highline? Burien council passes ‘resolution of intent’

October 3rd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, White Center news 26 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

City staff says they still have multiple chances to turn back – but for now, the Burien City Council has taken the first official step on the road to annexing White Center and most of the rest of unincorporated North Highline, by approving a resolution declaring their intent to annex the area. The resolution was approved 5-2, with Councilmembers Jack Block Jr. and Lucy Krakowiak the “no” votes.

Most of the councilmembers didn’t speak immediately before the vote to explain why they were pro or con – but of those who did, Deputy Mayor Brian Bennett said he’s “optimistic” about North Highline’s future; Block said that while he didn’t think NH residents would want to be part of a city (Seattle) with (potential) $80 car tabs and “Taj Mahal libraries,” he did think there were issues that need to be resolved – such as, through negotiating with the county “for mitigation” – before proceeding.

The meeting began with a public-comment period that lasted almost 45 minutes, with all but one speaker addressing the “to move forward with annexation or not to move forward with annexation” issue. Our tally of the annexation speakers: 12 opponents, 5 supporters. The opponents all described themselves as Burien residents; four of the supporters were residents of the still-unincorporated area.

One of them was Barbara Dobkin, who spoke as a private citizen but also serves as president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. “This is good news,” she smiled after the meeting. “Finally, we have something to start with.”

Though some in Burien had repeatedly expressed opposition by saying “what’s the rush?” Dobkin and others – including some councilmembers – noted that all this has been under discussion for years. New fuel was added to Burien’s fire when Seattle, which originally had dibs on this part of the unincorporated area, declared earlier this year that it wasn’t even going to think about a decision till early next year, so if Burien wanted to proceed, Seattle wouldn’t stand in its way.

We will add highlights and summaries of the commenters’ key points later, plus what happens next in the process, as we continue adding to this story in the hours ahead.

ADDED TUESDAY: Here are the 8 steps required before annexation would become official, as laid out in the approved resolution:

1. City Council approves a Resolution calling for annexation by election.
2. City staff files a Notice of Intention with the King County Boundary Review Board (BRB) and invokes jurisdiction by filing a request for review with the Board.
3. The BRB sets a hearing date, holds a hearing and issues a decision. The BRB can accept the proposal, reduce it by no more than 10% or deny the request.
4. The BRB decision begins a 30-day appeal period (appeals go to Superior Court).
5. City Council indicates to the County Auditor its preferred date for the annexation election.
6. County Council sets the election on the date indicated by the City.
7. The election is held.
8. City Council approves an Ordinance providing for the annexation and establishing its effective date.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button