Screenshot 2023-11-09 at 11.54.09 AM

Tents Pop up as Burien Sanctioned Camp Opens Without Warning

View at Fix Homelessness


Wednesday evening, texts were blowing up on my phone. Neighbors near Oasis Home Church in Burien claimed tents were popping up behind the church building. They said this was the “ultimate betrayal” since Pastor Mark Miller allegedly told them this controversial “sanctioned encampment” would not open until “later this month.” Some people who live across the street say they had meetings scheduled this week with the pastor to set reasonable parameters before doors opened.

Of course I went to check out the situation. Four tents are currently set up in the fenced area. Unclear how many people are staying on site since these tents can hold multiple folks. Councilmember Cydney Moore was sitting at one of the volunteer tables and tried to have me thrown off the property.

As usual, Pastor Mark Miller was extremely gracious and not as aggressive. He talked to me off the property but did not want to go on camera.

Miller said the following:

-The sanctioned camp opened on Tuesday Nov 7.

-Burien city officials know.

-Right now the church is NOT required to have a permit to operate.

-All the campers have had background checks and are not sex offenders.

-He plans on continuing conversations with neighbors.

-This is just a “temporary sanctioned encampment” and will be around for 90 days.

Preparing for the Worst

Listen to what some neighbors near Oasis Home Church are doing to prep for the homeless moving into the “sanctioned encampment” across the street.

Pastor Says

I spoke to Pastor Mark Miller this past Sunday. The “sanctioned encampment” was supposed to open on Nov. 6. But he told neighbors at the public meeting the opening was delayed. Miller said background checks on the campers needed to be completed. Neighbors now say they had no idea it would happen this week.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.