Tag Archives: Burien

Port of Seattle and Burien to Restore Hilltop Park and Provide BIPOC Green Jobs

by Caroline Guzman


Hilltop Park is a small recreational space located nearby SeaTac Airport in the City of Burien. The neighborhood has been struggling with noise pollution, lack of green spaces, and lack of employment for People of Color. The mayor of Burien, Jimmy Matta, has joined the Port of Seattle in partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), EarthCorps, Forterra, and Partner in Employment (PIE) to restore the habitat of Hilltop Park and support green jobs in historically underserved airport communities. 

“When it comes to the environment, this is a first for People of Color,” said Matta at a recent media and partner tour of the park to learn about the improvements and restoration work. “This community is 42% People of Color, 25% Latino, and we’re 54,000 residents. So, the partnerships are here not because they were forced, but it’s because they’re excited to get involved.” The new restoration habitat will plant 270 trees and remove 60,000 square feet of invasive plants by this fall with the help of EarthCorps. Additionally, the proposal will provide green jobs to the local youth through PIE. The trees planted at the park will help sequester carbon produced by the airplanes, meaning more clean air for passive enjoyment. 

Port of Seattle Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck spoke about pushing for more funds, an endowment of $10 million, to advance this and similar projects around the city. “The airport communities are disproportionately affected. We know all the disparities that happen here, and this is where we can make a difference,” said Steinbrueck.

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South End Students Lead Push to Install Solar Panels at Highline High School

by Ben Adlin


Dozens of solar panels will eventually cover the roof of Highline High School’s new building in Burien under a student-led plan to build the largest solar-power system ever at a South King County public school.

Installation of the project would occur next year if the project meets its January 2022 fundraising deadline. Once complete, the 100-kilowatt solar array would not only produce clean electricity but also provide experiential, STEM-based learning opportunities for students, who could monitor the system’s flow of energy in real time.

In addition to seeking public grants and funds from private foundations, the students are also gathering individual donations through the Highline Schools Foundation. A related GoFundMe campaign launched earlier this year described the project as “living proof that solar energy is attainable in any neighborhood, even those with modest per capita incomes. And YOU will help us get there!”

The idea began with a question last summer from then-Highline senior Nha Khuc, who was in the midst of an environmental internship through King County. What would it take, Khuc asked one of the professionals she met in the program, to put solar panels on Highline’s new roof?

Continue reading South End Students Lead Push to Install Solar Panels at Highline High School

Will Local Governments Reflect the Changing Demographics of South King County?

by Phil Manzano


When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”

He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.

“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”

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Burien City Council Votes to Delay Homeless Housing Proposal

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Burien City Council voted narrowly last week to delay a Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) development that would provide 95 units of permanent supportive housing, including at least 25 units for disabled veterans.

The proposal is part of Burien’s 2019 Affordable Housing Demonstration Program, which grants zoning variances to projects that serve people at various income levels; DESC applied to build housing for people between 0% and 30% of area median income, the lowest income level included in the pilot.

The Burien Planning Commission approved the project unanimously in April, but councilmembers raised objections after some residents complained that the project would harm downtown businesses and bring homeless people from other areas (like Seattle) into Burien.

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‘A Failed Leader’: Momentum Builds in Demands for Sheriff Johanknecht’s Resignation

by Carolyn Bick


At the 43:22 timestamp in a video of a nearly two-hour King County Council meeting regarding the shooting death of Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht gets up and walks out of the room, before any members of the community speak, and before Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’s mother starts to read the last poem her son wrote before police shot and killed him in 2017.

“I have to get on to the next thing,” Johanknecht says, looking at the watch on her left wrist.

Continue reading ‘A Failed Leader’: Momentum Builds in Demands for Sheriff Johanknecht’s Resignation

Le Family Settles, Says KCSO, Deputy Molina Culpable — Sheriff Email Claims Otherwise

by Carolyn Bick


Tommy Le loved to cook and garden with his grandmother and do landscaping work with his father. He was friendly with his teachers. He loved to play chess. He had a curiosity that made him seek out deeply philosophical texts — a trait so unique that his local librarians knew him by name. And on June 14, 2017, the 20-year-old Vietnamese American student was going to attend his graduation ceremony at South Seattle College, where he had graduated from the College Career Link program just the day before.

But Le never got to attend that graduation ceremony. He never got to wear his graduation outfit. Generations of his family — some of them refugees — never got to see him achieve his dream of becoming a firefighter.

Instead, King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Cesar Molina shot the young man twice in the back and once in the back of the hand in Burien on June 13, 2017. The shots to the back killed Le.

Continue reading Le Family Settles, Says KCSO, Deputy Molina Culpable — Sheriff Email Claims Otherwise

Taxpayers Partially on Hook for County’s, Deputy Sheriff’s, and Their Lawyers’ Delay Tactics in Le Case

by Carolyn Bick


Even for a seasoned lawyer like Phil Talmadge, the fine the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has leveled against King County, the King County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot Tommy Le, and — in what Talmadge says is also an unusual move — their lawyers, is a surprisingly hefty one: $56,752.60.

“The federal appellate courts, like Washington State appellate courts … are reluctant to award sanctions for a frivolous appeal. It doesn’t happen commonly,” Talmadge said. “There really [has] to be … a pretty flagrantly frivolous appeal before a court imposes the kind sanctions the Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals] imposed. … There has to be no legalistic basis for the appeal. And that’s essentially what the Ninth Circuit said.”

The sanctions are one of the latest legal moves in the ongoing civil rights case the Le family and their civil case lawyers have brought against the officer, then-Deputy Cesar Molina — now Deputy Sheriff Cesar Molina — and King County. Talmadge worked as the appeals lawyer with the Le family and their civil case lawyers in a motion for sanctions (a penalty); in this case, the more than $56,000 fine leveled against the defendants and their lawyers. The fine is the total amount of money the court found that the Le family has spent specifically to fight an appeal filed by Molina, King County, and their lawyers just prior to the commencement of their trial, an appeal the plaintiffs argued was a frivolous delay tactic.  

Continue reading Taxpayers Partially on Hook for County’s, Deputy Sheriff’s, and Their Lawyers’ Delay Tactics in Le Case

Strong Windstorm Knocks Out Power to 74,000 in and Around Seattle, South End Especially Hard Hit

by Andrew Engelson


After a strong windstorm hit Washington state with winds of up to 70 miles per hour in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 13, more than 500,000 people in Western Washington lost power and could be without electricity into the rest of today. Numerous areas in South Seattle were still without power by midday Wednesday with outages hitting the Central District, Rainier Valley, Skyway, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, as well as Highline, Burien, and other areas of South King County.

Continue reading Strong Windstorm Knocks Out Power to 74,000 in and Around Seattle, South End Especially Hard Hit

Prosecutor’s Office May Face Conflict of Interest in Tommy Le Case

by Carolyn Bick


The only thing that appears to be standing in the way of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General or the United States Department of Justice bringing criminal charges against the King County Sheriff’s Office for its handling of the 2017 shooting death of Tommy Le is a phone call from either King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg or Gov. Jay Inslee.

But it is a phone call that, as of this writing, will likely not be placed any time soon. 

While the Le family attorneys also object to Inslee’s silence on the matter, this story will examine their contention that there exists a major problem within the King County Prosecutor’s Office (KCPO) — specifically, that the KCPO faces a conflict of interest in its decision to reserve the right to bring criminal charges against the deputy who shot Le — criminal charges that could negatively impact King County, the very client KCPO is defending in the ongoing federal civil rights suit regarding Le’s death.

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Burien Plan Would Establish a Creative District in the City

by Ben Adlin


Artists and other creatives who call Burien home are banding together to establish a state-certified creative district, a move they hope will reinforce the local arts scene, boost the economy, and curb displacement of the city’s creative class as the Seattle-area real estate market continues to boom.

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