Michael Noakes and Donna DiFiore display their awards at the foot of the Burien Library stairs.
Noakes and DiFiore honored by Burien as Citizens of the Year
Michael Noakes and Donna DiFiore were honored March 4 as Burien’s Citizens of the Year during a celebration of the city’s 20th anniversary.
Noakes was cited for his work on an ad hoc committee seeking a compromise with the state Department of Ecology (DOE) on an update of Burien’s Shoreline Master Plan. Noakes also serves as chair of the Burien Marine Property Owners Association. The revised master plan has not been formally adopted but city staffers are hopeful agreement can be reached with the state agency.
DiFiore was honored for her participation since 2007 on the citizens’ advisory Burien Arts Commission. She also hosted artist Augustina Droze, who along with volunteers painted the Dollar Tree mural at 4th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 151st Place in downtown Burien.
Noakes thanked City Council members for the “generous award.” He reminded lawmakers that dozens of people spent time working on improvements to the shoreline plan.
Councilmember Gerald Robison commented it had been “an honor and pleasure” to work with Noakes on the ad hoc committee. He added Noakes saved the city on consulting fees by preparing a database of shoreline properties.
Councilmember Joan McGilton noted she had been adamantly opposed to the city’s first plan sent to the DOE. But she said Noakes had single-handedly changed her mind about the effectiveness of the compromise plan.
DiFiore also thanked council members for the award and for supporting the arts in Burien. She noted that on some days Droze and the volunteers worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the mural.
She added, “Community service is a lot of fun. You meet a lot of great people.”
Several past mayors and lawmakers attended the reception marking Burien’s 20th birthday.
Burien officially became a city on Feb. 28, 1993.
Mayor Brian Bennett noted incorporation was presented four times before voters approved it. The third time it lost by a 3-1 margin. However, after a proposal to build a bridge between Burien and Maury-Vashon islands, incorporation passed 2-1 at the next election.
On March 4, council members also discussed the scope of services in hiring a consultant to devise the city’s economic development strategic plan. Lawmakers have budgeted $50,000 for the plan.
Economic Development director Dan Trimble said the plan should provide specific economic goals, strategies and implementation measures. The plans should also outline the timing, cost and funding source for any strategies.
He noted Burien’s population has risen from 29,970 to 46, 579, mainly through annexation of the southern portion of North Highline.
McGilton urged the consultant to focus on the arts and quality of life, specific areas beyond downtown, branding and having stakeholder meetings before a study.
Councilmember Bob Edgar said the consultant should look at small business strategies. He suggested that council members participate in the study.
Councilmember Rose Clark added that history should be considered alongside arts and culture.
Councilmember Jack Block Jr. said instead of being called a strategic plan, it should be known as “an action plan.”