Exclusion zone approved for 3 Ballard parks

At a community meeting tonight about criminal activity in Ballard parks, Seattle Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher announced that he’s approved an exclusion zone for Bergen Place, Marvin’s Garden and Ballard Commons Park. The zone was requested by dozens of businesses owners and residents who have been concerned about drug and alcohol use, drug dealing and sexual behavior at Bergen Place and Marvin’s Garden. “This is not a homeless issue. This is a drug trafficking problem,” said Graham Graham, co-owner of the restaurant Thaiku, which is right next door to Marvin’s Garden.

Under the ordinance, Seattle Police officers can exclude an individual from all three parks at once for violating park rules. “All this will do is, say, if you’re excluded from one, you’re excluded from two more,” Gallagher said, adding that the zone will help but not be a “solution to the problem.” Exclusions can last 7 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second and a full year for a third. Gallagher said the zone would take effect immediately, and he also promised to have a “serious discussion” about Salmon Bay Park.

Seattle Police Sgt. Dianne Newsom, who heads up the North Precinct’s community police team, listened to concerns from residents and business owners. Some have taken photos (above) and video at Bergen Place and Marvin’s Garden and provided it to police. But because citizen photos don’t prove criminal behavior (and that’s why we blurred the face in this photo), police say they can’t make arrests unless officers catch them in the act. “Hopefully this summer we’re going to try to get more people out on bicycles,” she said, explaining that the officers can use binoculars and quietly sneak up on criminal activity. Currently, bicycle officers patrol Ballard every few weeks. When pressed for daily enforcement to tackle the drug trafficking problem, Newsom promised to take the concerns to her lieutenant.

Seattle Parks also encouraged residents to “activate” the parks by organizing activities, and members of Friends of Bergen Place said they were considering offering free WiFi. Other ideas included allowing Thaiku to set up tables in Marvin’s Garden, bringing in a food vendors, hosting concerts and coordinating with Tuesday’s in Ballard. Seattle Parks offered to work with residents on ideas, and Gallagher said he’ll plan a follow up community meeting in August.


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Boardbrown
Member
Boardbrown

Though it may not be an end-all solution, it's an important first step. Lil' victories now, big 'uns later.

kim
Guest
kim

fingers crossed that there is the law enforcement power to enforce it now.

Silver
Member

Good coverage! Thanks for being there.

God, I hate meetings!

By the way, is Thaku's co-owner really named Graham Graham? Poor guy…

demian
Guest

If they can site those people while still sitting in their cruisers then i think something may get done…

It is a good first step. I think we could also not allow cheap liquor to be sold in our grocery stores or convenience stores in the area. That's what they did in Pioneer Square and that was about the time Ballard got flooded with homeless. Unfortunately for me i kinda like crappy beer… And i kinda like some of the homeless in ballard. There is a few real nice people. A little off but pretty cool to talk to from time to time.

person
Guest
person

no !!! now they will just come up north !!!

Boardbrown
Member
Boardbrown

Great pic, but how do we know they're not just making out?

Sir Camp-a-lot
Guest
Sir Camp-a-lot

Look out Salmon Bay here we come! Plus we'll have a bum shelter nearby, that'll help us 'blend' into the neighborhoods new look.

Sir Camp-a-lot
Guest
Sir Camp-a-lot

Looks more like they are flossing each other's teeth….

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

Thank you all, very much.
Now, let's hope that some officers use this tool.
Report, report, report.

Scott
Guest
Scott

So more cool things will come to “our” parks to rid the schlub problem eh? Why can't a few guilty floks right here on the blog simply take some home, today. Today is a great day to take that first step to redeem yourselves. How much longer until the fine ACLU begins to “tell us all what to do”? If this occurs the “homeless” will merely take over with a new tent-city. If I were you guys I'd just keep up that guilt. It'll certainly (like hope does) make everything just go away. Stop hand-out to then. Stop giving 'em YOUR $$. This is no longer a cute situation. It is howver a sign of weakness in our hood. That, and a huge lack of leadership. Maybe hizzoner can just hand us all horse blinders so we just can't see this mess? Might work? I want to know what the “exit strategy” is for bums/ schlubs/drunks/druggies?????????????

Edog
Member
Edog

I really wanted to go to this meeting, but could not. Great coverage. This is a step in the right direction.

I'm going to seriously start brainstorming about how to “activate” the parks with some sort of activity.

Perhaps a meet and greet of Ballard Dog's of the Myballardblog? A low rent low maintenance event where people bring leashed animals, sit about and sip coffee, and smell butts at some hour.

Silver
Member

Edog – Great idea! I would go, and I don't even have a dog!

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

I'll show up…provided that butt-smellin' is optional ;-)

Coswell
Guest
Coswell

I believe the term is:

“…flossing each other's tooth”

jules
Guest
jules

great idea, Edog! I could not make the meeting either but i am more than open to these park ideas and also think it is at least now being looked at, identified as a problem, and at least we seem to have many folks attempting to brainstorm on how to help. As you all have said earlier, great start!

bella and i would LOVE to be a part of the meet and greet type java thing in the parks! just let us know what you need, and we will be there! i will even attempt to cook up a little snack or treat or something to bring with us. bella can bring extra doggy biscuits to share with her “new friends”. Dogs or no dogs, it sounds like a fun, positive way to get this turnaround started!

I think i will pass on smellin' butts however….

Shane Dillon
Member
Shane Dillon

The bottom line is the Seattle police should do more when there is a problem. It is illegal to sit in a public park and get drunk/deal drugs. They should just pull up, search the swines, and then arrest them. I am tired of everyone feeling sorry for the people that do nothing but, beg, get drunk, and make the place unwelcoming for the rest of us.

I paid to live in a nice area, why should so called do gooders have the right to turn the place into an area that addicts, drunks, criminal, and yes homeless should be welcomed.

Absolutely NOT IN MY BACKYARD!

I want Ballard to be the nice place it was when I moved here.

I don't want soup kitchens, food banks, tent cities, and shelters, and criminal behaviour or any kind tollerated.

Edog
Member
Edog

OK, I'm out of town this weekend, but will start thinking about how to pull something together.

that guy
Guest
that guy

i think it's funny that those bums can smoke crack and drink in the park all day long but if i wanted to drink a beer out there i would get arrested/cited so fast.
maybe i need bum camo or something

jules
Guest
jules

sounds great, edog. feel free to contact me off post and i will help in anyweay i can! i am in the loayal heights neighborhood. bella would love to meet your dog in your dogatar!

travel safe this weekend:)

Born right the first time
Guest
Born right the first time

I have been going to Gilman ball park (sort of behind Mc. Donald”s) for many years for Little League gems and there has always been one or two homeless. (almost always drunk)
Yesterday there was about 20.
I'm guessing that the number will explode now that we have the regulations for those 3 parks and not for Gilman.
These regulations need to be in place an inforces and EVERY other park in the city.

Corbeau
Member
Corbeau

Sounds great except what does arresting them do? It doesn't solve the problem because the person they arrest will be back on the street within hours. It also takes a cop off-line for a few hours which means less police presence. That's a lose-lose proposition. The courts can prosecute them but what good does that do? These people don't have the money to pay the fines and the jails don't have room to keep them locked up. Building more jails isn't an option because of the NIMBY types who will fight new jail construction and the cheapskates who don't want to pay more in taxes to fund new jails. Much as I'd like to see these people be gone I fail to see how arresting them is going to help in the long run. In the long run the only real solution is to force these people to change by requiring them to go through substance abuse treatment, getting them the mental health care they need (and which the police are not even remotely trained to handle), and helping them become employed tax payers who can afford a place to live. Simply arresting them over and over again isn't going… Read more »

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

yeah, hear that.
btw, if an officer went undercover, wearing the latest bum fashions, with a couple tall boys in a bag, they'd be able to clear the parks out in a matter of hours.
Oh, and a free lunch would be in the offing too.
Just a thought.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

wow, glad that you are as crazy as I am. Beware, a lot of folks will flame about your callousness…
Community service should be a no-brainer for public services.

Grubby Ballard
Guest
Grubby Ballard

“In the long run the only real solution is to force these people to change by requiring them to go through substance abuse treatment, getting them the mental health care they need (and which the police are not even remotely trained to handle), and helping them become employed tax payers who can afford a place to live. “

Yeah right. Good luck with that. Isn't it possible that there is simply a hard core group of homeless that are beyond salvation and spending money on them, rather than folks who truly want to try straighten out their lives, is a waste? For the most part, the ones you see shuffling around Ballard these days don't want help. Well fine, **** *** to where ever you came from.

Corbeau
Member
Corbeau

I do think there's a difference between charity and simply giving people something for nothing. I'm all for charity – a civilized society shouldn't allow people to just rot away in the streets. If we do then we're no better than places like Haiti. As the old saying goes, the Lord helps those who help themselves! I'm not a church going type but it's hard not to agree with that one.