Burien business owners express concern over overt drug and property crime near town hall

After a town hall meeting was evacuated due to people smoking outside, a council member decided to write a letter telling the community “enough is enough”.

Brian, Washington. — Burien City Council meeting suspended, then evacuated as people smoked an unknown substance outside on Monday night. Some business owners said the incident highlighted an ongoing security concern.

The city is concerned about overt drug and property crimes. One business owner said she had sent six letters to city hall about the issue.

In the wake of what happened Monday night, a city council member decided to write a letter of his own telling the community “enough is enough.”

At Monday night’s meeting, as one MP spoke, another MP interrupted her.

“Madam Mayor, can we take a break,” Councilman Stephanie Mora asked, noting that it was a health and safety issue.

“Someone was smoking outside the door,” Mora said.

In a subsequent statement to the community, Mora explained that she had seen “two people pulling a substance out of a pipe” and was concerned that “there could be very serious consequences for this smoke drifting into the council chambers” .

Robyn Desimone, owner of Iris & Peony, said: “It’s ironic that what businesses have been complaining about for months, in a way, for years, council members have definitely experienced.”

Desimone, who runs her business across the street from City Hall, said vandalism, theft and overt drug use were persistent problems.

“People have been sitting outside my door. They’re smoking marijuana, they’re taking drugs, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” DeSimone said.

She caught some of them on camera and collected photos of other business owners’ criminal activity. She will continue to write to the city council on the matter.

“They need to help support the businesses in the city to have better, safer work environments. If they can’t provide that, then I personally don’t want to be here anymore,” DeSimone said.

At Monday night’s meeting, safety concerns over the smog led parliament to briefly adjourn before resuming sessions. Mora said this cannot be the “new normal”. She wrote that she “doesn’t believe people should fear for their safety when they come to City Hall.”

Burien’s city manager echoed Mora’s concerns and said efforts were being made to improve the environment around the town hall.

Area businesses have also formed an association and said they want to work with the city to find solutions and bring more resources to those in need.

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