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Are Burien parks, library truly public if public afraid to use them?

By Eric Mathison

A couple of years back, after-school behavior by some teens in downtown Burien got so bad, some Burien residents said they were afraid to use the Burien Library or visit Town Square Park. Cameras were installed at the library and the situation improved.

On July 21, Burien City Council members discussed another tool to make families feel more comfortable at the library or city parks. City Attorney Craig Knutson introduced a proposed ordinance establishing a process to issue trespass warnings on city and other publicly owned property.

There is already an ordinance allowing business owners to have unruly customers banned from their stores for a certain period of time. The Highline Times Police Blotter often reports on perpetrators “trespassed” from a supermarket or service station.

But Knutson said recent court cases have established an individual’s rights to be on public property. An appeal process is needed for anyone banned from a public place for more than seven days, according to Knutson.

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