Photo by Steve Shay
Winter rains have made Salmon Creek more like a river as it runs through the ravine park. Four families plan to donate an additonal 9 acres to the park.

Families to donate 9 acres to park when law is OK’d by Burien council

Four families are waiting to donate 9.4 acres of wooded land with a stream that will be added to Burien’s second largest park.

But there’s a glitch-- the city does not have an ordinance that sets forth the procedure to formally accept donated property and carry out the terms of the donation.

Burien lawmakers plan to remedy that at their Feb. 25 council meeting.

City Attorney Craig Knutson introduced the proposed ordinance at the Feb. 4 meeting. It would authorize City Manager Mike Martin to accept donations or bequests of money or property on the city’s behalf. The city manager would also be delegated to negotiate and accept any conditions for the donation. If the conditions are not met, the property could revert back to the original owners.

If there are no conditions, the city could use the property for any municipal purpose.

The city manager would also designate the appropriate city fund or department to which the donation would be allocated. Knutson noted the city manager could also refuse a donation.

Because of a slight word change, the ordinance will come back to the council Feb. 25 on its business agenda, rather than the consent agenda.

Parks director Michael Lafreniere said the prospective donation is at the north end of the Salmon Creek ravine adjacent to Salmon Creek Ravine Park. It is west of Ambaum Boulevard in the Shorewood neighborhood. The land is treed, on a ravine and has a stream running through it.

The parcel would be very difficult and expensive to develop, according to Lafreniere. The four families who own the parcel jointly could escape the property tax liability on it by donating it to the city. Lafreniere said there could also be tax credits available through donation.

The 9.4 acres would be added to the ravine park, which is undeveloped, except for trails. Public access is available at the Southwest Suburban Sewer District treatment plant, located at 12550 Shorewood Dr. S.W.

The ravine park is currently 87 acres, making it Burien’s second largest park. The Seahurst Park, at 172 acres, is the city’s largest.

At the Feb. 4 meeting, Councilmember Rose Clark asked the city attorney how Burien had accepted the donation of Mathison Park without a city ordinance.

Knutson said he was not the city’s attorney at the time so did not know the circumstances of the donation. He said the absence of the ordinance would not negate the acceptance of the park.

In 1999, Ted Mathison donated the 5-acre family homestead at 533 S. 146th St. to Burien. In 2003, two sisters, Eleanor Carver Nelson and Dorothy C. Carver donated an adjacent parcel in memory of their grandfather, Herman Nickolas Peters, who homesteaded in the Sunnydale neighborhood in 1889.

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