Burien City Council OKs ordinance to tow junk cars off private property

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BURIEN, Wash. -- Junk cars and trucks parked in front of Burien homes could soon be on the move. The City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to approve a measure allowing the city to remove the vehicles from private property.

"Often times, these are vehicles that a common person would see as not able to be operated in a safe manner,” said Burien City Manager Kamuron Gurol. “They may be up on blocks, missing wheels, missing rear view mirrors, broken glass, those kinds of things."

In most cases, Gurol says, neighbors file a complaint about the junk cars to code enforcement. The city issues warnings and works with the owners to solve the problem. Gurol said removing the vehicles is another tool to help clean up the neighborhoods.

“People are given lots of time and lots of steps to accomplish that. This is only in the rare case where those steps have unfortunately not worked,” said Gurol.

Currently, the city has 14 open complaint cases involving junk vehicles.

City Council member Lauren Berkowitz opposes the proposal because she believes it unfairly targets and punishes low-income families. She says some of them might not have the money to fix up the cars. She added the old cars might also be a source of income for the owners.

Berkowitz believes the money to enforce the ordinance is better spent providing human services to help low-income residents.


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