Burien Washington

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About Burien

Burien is a young city built from a 100-year-old waterfront community on the Puget Sound. With six miles of shoreline and expansive mountain views, residents take pride in their neighborhoods, actively preserve the marine biodiversity of the area, and protect their public spaces. Housing ranges from starter homes to high-end homes, condominiums and apartments of all sizes, including senior living.

Residents and business people alike love the convenience of Burien’s hub location and great connections. You can drive north to Seattle in about 12 minutes, east to Sea-Tac Airport in five minutes, and south to Tacoma or east to Bellevue in 30 minutes. The central location means that jobs and entertainment are convenient, the parking problems are elsewhere and a slower pace prevails in residential neighborhoods.  

Burien has been busy rebuilding and reinventing itself. Downtown’s major arterial received a makeover with widened sidewalks, benches, landscaping and old-fashioned lampposts. In 2009, Burien Town Square opened its first buildings, a joint King County Regional Library and Burien City Hall, in a multi-story condominium/retail building. During the same time, Town Square Park was completed at the center of the development. Town Square has reshaped the downtown area into a central gathering point for the community. Currently, construction is underway for the final two phases of the Town Square development: a four-story Merrill Gardens senior housing complex and a six-story market-rate apartment complex.

Burien’s downtown serves a large segment of the South King County population. Burien is noted for boutique retail, professional personal services and a large number of ethnic restaurants attracting dinners from near and far. Burien’s unique cuisine originates in Australia, China, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Mediterranean, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam. Burien’s inviting downtown features the oldest and one of the best-attended July 4th parades in the region, in addition to a summer Farmers Market, monthly art walks, excellent local theater, and seasonal festivals generating year-round activity and excitement. Olde Burien, the historic town center, is bustling with new boutiques, businesses and restaurants serving 150,000 residents of the greater Highline area.

Burien is also known for its thriving health care community. Per capita, Burien has a large number of health care providers, including hospitals, health centers, clinics, private practice doctors, dentists and various wellness specialists.

The Puget Sound Regional Council designated Burien as one of the 25 Regional Growth Centers that will experience focused urban growth in the decades ahead. The community is embracing new approaches and technology in education, health care, development, and recreation. The City of Burien parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department remodeled its Community Center for children, teenagers, and adults to enjoy, as well as growing its cultural arts programs.  For many years, volunteers have supported an orchestra, live theater, dance groups, art galleries, a pottery studio, and the 800-seat Highline Performing Arts Center.

The Highline School District, based in Burien, enjoys strong public support and has rebuilt several new schools over the past decade. Educators are proud of the Microsoft certification class, a marine technology lab and the Puget Sound Skills Center. Nearby Highline Community College offers a wide variety of educational and technical programs.

Burien is a diverse community with around 40 percent of the total population identifying as non-white, according to the 2010 census. Individuals who identify as Hispanic make up Burien’s largest ethnic group at nearly a quarter of the total population. Another 10 percent identify as Asian, and according to the Highline School District, more than 50 different languages are spoken in the homes of Burien area students.

The City of Burien has a Council-Manager form of government. The seven members of the City Council are elected to serve four-year terms. The Mayor is elected by the Council for a two-year term. The City provides a range of services to its citizens with departments including the City manager’s office, City Clerk, City Attorney, Community Development, Finance, Administration Services, Public Works, and Economic Development. The City contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services, fire services are provided by Fire District 2 and North Highline Fire District. Water, sewer, and power are provided by outside public and private entities.

Where is Burien?


Historical Mileposts

1993       February 28, Incorporation Day

1995       Groundbreaking and dedication of Lake Burien Memorial Park

1997       City assumes ownership of King County parks properties in Burien City’s first 
               Comprehensive Plan adopted 

1998       Annexation of 2,500 residents of Manhattan & Woodside park areas Park Board & 
               Arts Commission formed

2000       Downtown Town Square Task Force begins meeting to plan a Town Square first 
               annual outdoor concert series held at Lake Burien School Park 

2001       Burien’s Skate park opens

2002       Work begins on SW 152nd Street improvement project

2003       Broadcasting of Burien City Council meetings begins

2004       City Council begins study of possible annexation of North Highline area Conceptual 
               site plan for 20-acre Town Square development approved

2005       Work completed on removal of south seawall and beach restoration at Seahurst 
               Dedication ceremony held for Burien’s Eagle Landing Park

 2006       Dedication ceremony 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

 2007       Jacob Ambaum Park opens on Ambaum Boulevard SW
                Demolition of former Gottschalk store marks beginning of construction of Burien 
                Town Square

 2008       City initiates new economic development initiative to build on the “cluster” of 
                medical service providers in Burien
                City adopts biennial budget process

 2009       New City Hall and Library opens
                Town Square Park opens
                Radio-free Burien begins broadcasting
                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

 2010       Public Works maintenance crews brought in-house
                Community Center opens in newly remodeled former library
                Burien contracts to begin Burien Animal Care and Control
                Annexation of 14,000 Highline residents

2011        SCORE Regional Jail opens
                City Council develops, adopts Vision for Burien
                Metro/Sound Transit parking garage opens downtown
                City’s major arterials are resurfaced
                Work begins on phase two on 1st Ave S. improvement project

 2012       Community Animal Resource and Education Society (C.A.R.E.S.) opens in Burien

 2013       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 names Burien a 2012 Tree City USA

 2014       Seahurst Restoration Project concludes and receives Livable Communities Award
                for “Overall Excellence in Protecting Natural Resource Area” 

2015       NERA Stormwater Facility and Miller Creek Greenway Project Phase One concludes
               King Country Metro Transit opens shuttle in Burien 
               Ground breaks on Merrill Garden developments to complete Town Square
               Burien Magazine launches


400 SW 152nd St, Suite 300  /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 241-4647  /  Fax: (206) 248-5539
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