Burien turns 30!

In March 1992, inspired by a call for a more powerful voice in the governing of their local community, residents of what is today known as Burien voted overwhelmingly in favor of incorporating as a city.

On September 15, 1992, voters selected a seven-member interim city council and Dr. Arun Jhaveri was selected to serve as the City’s first mayor. The official incorporation was set for midnight on February 28, 1993.

Following are a few milestones in Burien’s 30-year history. For more community history, visit the Highline Heritage Museum.


February 28, Incorporation Day

Donna Hanson hired as interim city manager and the City’s first employee

Fred Stouder hired as first non-interim city manager

First City staff team hired: City Clerk/HR Director – Jan Hubbard, Finance Director – Linda Gorton, Community Development Director – Greg Dohrn, Secretary – Adriene Buckley


Groundbreaking and dedication of Lake Burien School Memorial Park


City assumes ownership of local King County parks properties

First Comprehensive Plan adopted


Annexation of Manhattan neighborhood

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board formed

Arts Commission formed

Gary Long hired as city manager


Downtown Town Square Task Force begins meeting to plan a Town Square

First annual outdoor concert series held at Lake Burien Memorial School Park


Burien Skate Park opens


Work begins on SW 152nd St improvement project

Discover Burien launches


Broadcasting of Burien City Council meetings begins


City Council begins study of possible annexation of North Highline area

Conceptual site plan for 20-acre Town Square development approved


Work completed on removal of south seawall and beach restoration at Seahurst Park

Dedication ceremony held for Burien’s Eagle Landing Park


Dedication ceremony held for Mathison Park, first park development east of 1st Ave S.

Groundbreaking of Town Square Park

City Hall moves to new temporary location on Ambaum Boulevard SW

Mike Martin hired as city manager, replacing David Cline who served as interim city manager


Jacob Ambaum Park opens on Ambaum Boulevard SW

Demolition of former Gottschalk store marks beginning of construction of Burien Town Square

Burien Farmers Market launches

B-Town Blog launches


City initiates new economic development initiative to build on the “cluster” of medical service providers in Burien

City adopts biennial budget process


New City Hall and Library opens

Town Square Park opens

Groundbreaking of South Correctional Entity Regional Jail (SCORE)

Burien Interim Art Space has year-long run

Work completed on phase one of 1st Ave S improvement project


Public Works maintenance crews brought in-house

Community Center opens in newly remodeled former library

Annexation of North Highline and Boulevard Park neighborhoods


SCORE Regional Jail opens

City Council develops, adopts “Vision for Burien”

Metro King County Sound Transit parking garage opens downtown

Work begins on phase two of 1st Ave S improvement project


Community Animal Resource and Education Society (C.A.R.E.S.) opens in Burien


Phase two of 1st Ave S improvement project completed

Work begins on Seahurst Shoreline Restoration Project, north seawall removal

Burien becomes a “Safe Place City”

Arbor Day Foundation desginates Burien as a “Tree City USA”


Seahurst Restoration Project concludes and receives Livable Communities Award for “Overall Excellence in Protecting Natural Resource Area”

Kamuron Gurol hired as city manager

King County Metro Transit launches RapidRide F Line


NERA Stormwater Facility and Miller Creek Greenway Project Phase One concludes

King Country Metro Transit launches shuttle in Burien

Ground breaks on Merrill Garden developments to complete Town Square

Burien Magazine launches


Burien Airport Committee formed


City Council adopts immigration status ordinance

Cold storage facility opens in NERA

Town Square complete with construction of Maverick Apartments and Merrill Garden complex

Brian J. Wilson hired as city manager


City celebrates 25th anniversary of incorporation

Ted Boe hired as police chief

City Council creates Human Services Commission and hires first human services manager

StormFest, a stormwater science learning event hosted by Highline area cities for Highline Public Schools students, launched

Green Burien Partnership forms


Plastic bag ban adopted

40% tree canopy goal adopted

Renter protections adopted

Alternative public safety programs, including Burien LEAD, launch

Affordable Housing Demonstration Program launched


Burien community, businesses, and local governments work together to make it through COVID-19 pandemic

Lake to Sound trail (Segment C) for walking and biking begins construction

Urban Center Plan adopted

City hosts community conversations about public safety and policing

Burien Annex building demolished

Rebuilt Peter Western bridge opens


Burien’s first Climate Action Plan adopted

City sells downtown parking lot to developer for Kinect@Burien development

City Council adopts Native Land and Peoples Acknowledgment

City Council adopts suite of policies aimed at pandemic recovery


Plan adopted to use federal pandemic recovery funding

Tree regulations adopted

Burien receives official Creative District designation from Washington State Arts Commission

Adolfo Bailon hired as city manager, replacing Carolyn Hope who served as interim city manager


City celebrates its 30th anniversary of incorporation

King County Metro Transit launches H Line RapidRide

Burien Independence Day parade turns 100


Emily Inlow-Hood
Communications & Public Engagement Manager at | More posts
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