We marked a somber milestone this January—one year since the first coronavirus case was detected in the United States. In Burien, almost 50 beloved community members have been lost to the virus and close to 3,000 have contracted the virus, with many facing long-term health consequences. The impacts to our economy, children’s education, and overall community health will be felt for years to come. We will continue to work with regional and federal partners to deliver much needed relief from the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your city government is hard at work making sure that essential government services continue, despite public health restrictions that require us to adjust how we deliver those services. This next year, we are also kicking off new initiatives aimed at improving the health and well-being of Burien residents.
We launched the Rental Housing Inspection Program in January, designed to ensure property owners maintain healthy and safe housing for their tenants. We are also expanding our Utility Tax Relief Program, with the goal of enrolling everyone who is eligible for the rebate. We are also working on Burien’s first climate action plan. We’ve completed the first phase, gathering data on Burien’s greenhouse emissions and overhauling our tree codes with the goal of preserving our existing tree canopy. Our community development staff will be starting subarea planning for the Ambaum Corridor and Boulevard Park—two of our most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods. And our economic development staff continue to work hard to support our existing businesses, while at the same time attracting new economic opportunities to Burien.
Throughout this work, we need to keep hearing from community members. From attending council meetings and participating in public planning processes, we also need people like you to volunteer in our parks, support our local nonprofits who are helping our most vulnerable neighbors, and shop at our local businesses.
Despite the challenges of this last year, there are signs of hope. We are working with King County and local health providers to ensure vaccines are distributed to Burien residents. We encourage everyone to get the vaccine—I will be getting vaccinated when it’s my turn.
Now’s the time to remain hopeful, draw strength from our neighbors, and invest back into our community. By sticking together, we can emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient.