FYI: Crash investigation off 509

August 31st, 2019 Tracy Posted in Burien, Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, Traffic, White Center news 2 Comments »

If you’re headed southbound, an FYI from KCSO:

The photo and update are via Twitter: “Collision investigation in Burien near S 128/ SB on-ramp 509. Suspect vehicle fleeing a shoplift struck a truck at a high rate of speed. Police were not involved prior to the collision. Suspect vehicle passenger critical injuries. EB S 128 will be closed while MARR investigates.”

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Support Girl Scouts from Mary’s Place on the final day of cookie sales!

March 17th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Burien, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on Support Girl Scouts from Mary’s Place on the final day of cookie sales!

Today is the final day of cookie sales for Girl Scouts in our area – and if you’re going to be in Burien, you can support a special troop of girls whose families have been finding shelter at Mary’s Place:

On Sunday, March 17 from 12 pm to 2 pm, the girls will be selling cookies at
Walgreens at 14656 Ambaum Blvd SW in Burien,

We just found out about this from a troop leader in West Seattle. Read more here.

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UPDATE: 2-alarm apartment fire in North Burien

January 22nd, 2019 Tracy Posted in Burien, Fire, White Center news 1 Comment »

ORIGINAL 6:27 PM REPORT: A reader asked us about all the sirens they could hear from White Center and we subsequently found out a 2-alarm apartment fire is burning in North Burien, at Ambaum and 122nd. Even Seattle Fire has sent units for “mutual aid.” No other info so far but avoid the area!

ADDED LATE TUESDAY NIGHT: Regional media report one death in the fire. It was started by “smoking material” and considered accidental, according to investigators. 25 survivors are getting help from the Red Cross.

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UPDATE: Missing boy found

January 1st, 2019 Tracy Posted in Burien, White Center news 1 Comment »

UPDATE: Ahsan has been found.


Read the rest of this entry »

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TONIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration for all of Highline

October 12th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Burien, White Center news Comments Off on TONIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration for all of Highline

Highline Public Schools invites you to this event tonight:

The whole community is warmly invited to a fun, family friendly, community-wide event – the Indigenous Peoples Celebration at the Highline Performing Arts Center. Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the celebration happening Wednesday, October 12th from 6:00 -7:30 PM at the Highline Performing Arts Center at 401 S 152nd St in Burien. Dinner will be served from 5 – 6 PM in the Highline High School Cafeteria at 225 South 152nd Street in Burien. The Highline Indigenous Peoples Celebration is designed to inspire, celebrate, engage, and empower the American Indian/Alaska Native community in Highline and welcome for all to attend.

If you have any questions please direct them to Native Education Program Manager Sara Marie Ortiz at 206.631.3162 or We hope to see you at the event!

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Teenager shot in North Burien

May 19th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Burien, White Center news Comments Off on Teenager shot in North Burien

Though this happened in North Burien, just outside our coverage area, we’ve had some questions about it this morning, so we’re publishing the King County Sheriff’s Office news release:

At around 12:13 am (today), King County Sheriff 911 communications received reports of the sounds of gunfire in the area of SW 116 St and Ambaum Blvd SW, in Burien. Very shortly thereafter, they received updates that a man had been shot in the chest and was lying in a parking lot of an apartment complex in that same area.

Deputies from Burien arrived in the area within minutes and found the victim, later learned to be 17-year-old male, lying near an apartment complex in the 11400 block of 16th Ave SW. The victim had a single gunshot wound to his chest. Deputies as well as medics from North Highline Fire and King County Medic-1 provided aid to the victim at the scene before he was rushed to Harborview Medical center for emergency surgery.

Because of the nature of his injuries, Deputies were only able to get a very limited description of the suspects from the victim. At the time, they were described as two Hispanic males wearing dark clothing. It is believed that they fled on foot and then possibly in a silver or gray 2000s-era sedan. A K-9 track was attempted but no suspects were located.

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From the ‘all things old are new again’ department …

November 13th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Burien, Businesses, White Center news Comments Off on From the ‘all things old are new again’ department …

At auction, the two Burien Haggen grocery stores on 1st Avenue South that used to be Albertsons … have just been acquired by Albertsons. That’s according to UFCW Local 21. No timeline information yet but we’ll be checking back.

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Help for 10-year-old storm victim’s family

September 1st, 2015 Tracy Posted in Burien, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on Help for 10-year-old storm victim’s family

While the weekend windstorm inconvenienced many, cutting the power for hours, one nearby family suffered an unimaginably heartbreaking permanent loss: A falling branch killed a 10-year-old girl, a student at Burien’s Cedarhurst Elementary, while she was at a friend’s house in Federal Way. A reader asked if we would share the link to an online fund set up to help Samara‘s family cope with their loss – here’s the link.

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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 5 Comments »


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

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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