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definition - Burien,_Washington

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Burien, Washington

Burien, Washington
—  City  —

Location of Burien, Washington
Coordinates: 47°28′6″N 122°20′44″W / 47.46833°N 122.34556°W / 47.46833; -122.34556Coordinates: 47°28′6″N 122°20′44″W / 47.46833°N 122.34556°W / 47.46833; -122.34556
Country United States
State Washington
County King
 • Type Council-manager form
 • Mayor Joan McGilton (Ceremonial)
 • City Council Seven at large members (four year terms): Joan McGilton, Rose Clark, Sue Blazak, Kathy Keene, Lucy Krakowiak, Sally Nelson, Gordon Shaw
 • City Manager Mike Martin [1].
 • Total 15.7 sq mi (40.6 km2)
 • Land 9.9 sq mi (25.6 km2)
 • Water 5.8 sq mi (15.0 km2)
Elevation 377 ft (115 m)
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 33,313
 • Density 4,635.4/sq mi (1,792.6/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98146, 98148, 98166, 98168
Area code(s) 206
FIPS code 53-08850[2]
GNIS feature ID 1534570[3]

Burien (play /ˈbjʊəriən/ BYUR-ee-ən)[citation needed] is a city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population is 33,313, which is a 2.9% increase since incorporation. Annexation in 2011 has increased the cities population to about 45,000.



European settlement in the Burien area dates to 1870, when Mike Kelly walked up a hill from the Seattle area. When he emerged from the trees he said, "This is truly a sunny dale." Today, a few long-time residents still refer to the Burien area as Sunnydale. He claimed a 160-acre (0.6 km2) plot of land and built a house and a farm.

Ten years later, Gottlieb Von Boorian, a German immigrant, arrived in Sunnydale, which was only a community of trails and small houses without roads or commercial buildings. Von Boorian built a cabin on the southeast corner of Lake Burien and reportedly formed the community into a town bearing his name (misspelled over the years). A real estate office was built and soon attracted large numbers of new residents to Burien.

In the early 1900s, visitors from Seattle came by the Mosquito Fleet to Three Tree Point, just west of town to sunbathe and swim.

In 1915, the Lake Burien Railway was completed. It ran on what is today Ambaum Boulevard from Burien to White Center to Seattle. A small passenger train ran the tracks and was affectionately named by the residents, The Toonerville Trolley. However in the summer, squished caterpillars made the track slippery, and in the winter, the tracks iced over. Soon the Toonerville Trolley was removed.


Several proposals to incorporate the greater Burien area, an unincorporated portion of King County, were attempted but failed. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, citizens felt they needed a more responsive government to help address the looming threat of the Port of Seattle's airport runway expansion (known as the "Third Runway") to the west, so an effort was again made to incorporate as a city. Citizens also felt that multi-family apartments and dwellings had proliferated out of control in Burien and other unincorporated areas of King County, and that they had no local voice in government, other than the King County Council, that would hear their concerns.

The City of Burien was finally incorporated on February 28, 1993 after voter approval.


  Three Tree Point in Burien at sunset.

Late in 2004, the City assessed the possibility of annexing North Highline (which includes White Center and Boulevard Park), "one of the largest urban unincorporated areas of King County," which would double the size of Burien. Many citizens spoke against the annexation and created picket signs and petitions to protest against it. Other citizens welcomed the expansion, as they felt parts of the so-called "North Highline" area should have been part of the original Burien incorporation, and the area in question is part of the larger Highline area. (The Highline area includes the cities of Burien, Seatac, Des Moines, Federal Way and an unincorporated area called "North Highline.")

In May 2008, the Burien City Council proposed an annexation of the southern portion of North Highline, comprising 14,000 residents. In late summer of 2008, the City of Burien prepared to submit their annexation proposal to King County's Boundary Review Board. However after the City of Seattle protested Burien's proposal, Burien opted to withdraw their annexation plan and resubmit it after new countywide planning policies went into effect.

In October 2008, the Burien City Council voted to resubmit their annexation plan to the county Boundary Review Board. However, the cities of Burien and Seattle, along with King County and other stakeholders, first participated and completed mediation to ensure the interests of all parties involved were met. Affected stakeholders would have agreed to a preliminary annexation framework that stipulated how annexation would play-out between the cities of Burien and Seattle and with King County. However, the Seattle City Council voted against the agreement that February. It is not known if Seattle has any future plans for annexation of any part of the North Highline area.

On April 16, 2009, the Boundary Review Board of King County approved Burien's proposal for annexation of the southern portion of the North Highline area.

In early May 2009, both King County and the City of Burien passed resolutions to place an annexation vote on the August 18th primary ballot. The annexation area voted on had an area of about 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) and approximately 14,000 citizens. The ballot issue was approved by a majority of North Highline residents, and on April 1, 2010, North Highline became part of Burien.[4]

After the annexation vote, a special census was conducted, and it was determined that the newly annexed area had 14,292 residents. This resulted in a new population total of 46,022, making Burien the 21st largest city in Washington State.

  Current Burien

  SW 152 Street in Olde Burien.

Burien's downtown area underwent several renovations completed in 2009. The new towncenter includes 70,000 square feet (7,000 m2) of retail space, more than 400 condominiums with a plaza/park area, plus underground parking.

The city is served by the Highline Times (est. 1945), a community weekly newspaper owned by Robinson Newspapers. It is a subscriber-based publication with limited free distribution.


Burien contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services. Deputies assigned to Burien wear city uniforms and drive patrol cars marked with the city logo. There are currently 41 patrol officers, detectives, support personnel and a chief assigned full time to the city.

  Government and infrastructure

The United States Postal Service operates the Burien Post Office and the Seahurst Post Office.[5][6]


  Old Burien Library

  Primary and secondary schools

Burien is served by the Highline School District and is home to Highline High School and Sylvester Middle School in addition to several elementary schools.

It is also the home of many Catholic schools, including John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School, and St. Bernadette Elementary School.

  Public libraries

King County Library System operates the Burien Library.[7] The current 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) facility opened on Saturday June 13, 2009.[8]


  Burien Transit Center

King County Metro operates public transportation services. The Burien Transit Center began construction in July 2008 and finished in June 2009.[9]


Burien is located at 47°28′6″N 122°20′44″W / 47.46833°N 122.34556°W / 47.46833; -122.34556 (47.468221, -122.345491).[10]

According United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34.2 km²), of which, 7.4 square miles (19.3 km²) of it is land and 5.8 square miles (15.0 km²) of it (43.80%) is water.


  Aerial view of Burien, with Three Tree Point and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Historical populations
Census Pop.
1980 23,189
1990 25,089 8.2%
2000 31,881 27.1%
2010 33,313 4.5%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 31,881 people, 13,399 households, and 8,066 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,287.0 people per square mile (1,654.5/km²). There were 13,898 housing units at an average density of 1,868.9 per square mile (721.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.74% White, 5.14% African American, 1.29% Native American, 7.00% Asian, 1.16% Pacific Islander, 5.40% from other races, and 4.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.66% of the population.

There were 13,399 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,577, and the median income for a family was $53,814. Males had a median income of $39,248 versus $29,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,737. About 6.9% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

In the 2004 US presidential election, Burien cast 63.07% of its vote for Democrat John Kerry[2].


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