Police sweep campers in Ballard Commons

Tuesday PM update: The city of Seattle said its “navigation team” — specially-trained police officers and outreach workers — discovered two people and three structures in Ballard Commons Park on Monday morning. Both people declined the city’s offer for shelter.

Spokesperson Will Lemke tells My Ballard that the city visited the unsanctioned encampment earlier this fall and were able to convince two others to accept the team’s offer of safer shelter. He said the city posted notice of the impending sweep on Dec. 6.

“Even with the authority to remove the encampment immediately, the city chose to conduct outreach to campers in hopes of connecting people living unsheltered to services and shelter and provided notice a week in advance of yesterday’s activities,” Lemke said. “The navigation team, which was launched earlier this year, has been able to successfully move 38% of the people they’ve contacted indoors, which is higher than previous efforts which saw acceptance rates for shelter in the single digits.”

Tuesday AM update: Police officers are keeping an eye on the park this morning. Just a little trash is left behind from Monday’s sweep:

Earlier: After posting a warning several days ago, the city removed several tents in the north end of Ballard Commons Park this (Monday) morning.

Four or five people have called the tents home, but some neighbors have complained about the unauthorized encampment. Others have been supportive, including one neighbor who gave the campers $60, according to a post in the My Ballard forum.

Meanwhile, the Ballard Alliance says the park is “underutilized,” and the merchant group is asking for ideas to make a new children’s play space.

The park will be on the agenda at the next Ballard District Council meeting, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Merrill Gardens, 2418 NW 56th St.


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Long time Ballard
Guest
Long time Ballard

Our neighbors just caught someone stealing a delivery from our porch. The thief was already in the process of opening the box in our back yard when our neighbor approached them. When confronted, the thief took off in their car. Our neighbor had a good description of the thief, their car, the license plate etc. When we phoned the police, they told us they weren’t interested since their was only our neighbors word (!) against the thief and no crime had actually been committed (they left the contents on our yard). With logic like that, don’t expect anything to get better in the near future. Instead they’d prefer we call 911 when the crime is happening. Its only luck that our neighbors happened to notice a meth-head (their words, not mine) on our porch. Whats the odds we get to call next time in the middle of the act. All I can say, is vote. Put in representatives that support the police and backs them up to clean out the neighborhood.

Newton
Member
Newton

Thank you for the heads up Long Time.

Uff da
Guest
Uff da

Perhaps those who want the real story on the Park camp sweep will look to numerous detailed and thoughtful comments on Nextdoor Ballard, under the topic “Worsening Conditions at Ballard Commons.” Well over 200 comments in the last 5 days. There is a lot more going on at The Commons than the removal of “four or five campers.” Try about a dozen, with another dozen or so contributing to declining health and safety for all Park users. Many emergency response calls, a burned port-a-potty, drug needles and breaking down of stolen bicycles. Rats and pigeons are abundant feeding on food scattered about. Broken glass on the sidewalks and human excrement in the planting strip. Some public parking spots are occupied full time by street campers, making those same spots unavailable for residents and visitors to adjacent apartment complexes or condominiums. Noises at all times of day and night that disturb area residents in their homes. Theft from QFC and Bartell’s is a regular phenomena.

Maryann
Guest
Maryann

@Longtime Ballard–
Your comment has nothing to do with this story.

@Uff Da– Nextdoor really showcases the nutjobs in our neighborhood. Good ol’ Compass Rose from the MyBallard forum is a lead and continues to push her agenda that Ballard is the worst place to live in Seattle.

Why would you complain about a place for ten years, yet continue to live there?

skip
Member
skip

Because, Maryann, many of us have lived in Ballard for years. I’ve been in the same home for 19 years and I love Ballard. But I also find the continued lawlessness and filth from these ever-charging hobos disgusting. I walk all over the neighborhood and it’s hard to find a block that doesn’t have some evidence of homelessness and/or drug abuse. If you like it, fine, but don’t judge the rest of us.

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Longtime: SPD is underfunded and understaffed in a per capita measurement, compared to other departments, like NYPD. Put your money where your mouth is and start working towards a levy to fund more neighborhood patrols and traffic enforcement.

@Uff da: You should have seen Ballard in the “good ol’ times”, around the turn of the century. You would have clutched your pearls into sand.

K west
Guest
K west

I live very close to the park and looked forward to walking my dogs and sitting to enjoy the sunshine! My dogs won’t go to the park they put the brakes on when I walk that way! I am handicapped so, it could have been convienient for me. The few times we have gone thru have been frightening. Besides the trash accumulation and the pile up of stolen shopping carts 🛒 loaded with garbage. We have been screamed at, dodged a wild eyed man with a broken broom stick swinging it wildly with anger walking in our direction. So when we walked across the street there was a couple in the bushes sleeping with a very nasty dog. Where I live I have rules that are strictly enforced so that others are not offended by our garbage, misbehaved dogs, loud noises after 10 PM. And we follow those rules or we are asked to leave. The encampments here as I have witnessed are messy nasty garbage infested with piles getting bigger daily. And they are upset that those close by who pay to live here and follow the rules of picking up after ourselves are sick of watching their mess… Read more »

skip
Member
skip

Yeah, K West, but did you give them $60? How else are they gonna enjoy their Christmas?

Matthew Page
Member
Matthew Page

Glad they are gone. Enough of the crime and disgusting living conditions on the north end. The park is back and as expected, these “down on their luck” did not accept shelter and services from the City. So much for being down on their luck. Seattle is so caring towards the homeless they let them camp anywhere and live off the neighborhood. No more.
Good move to get the park back. Did not even recognize it this morning. First time I’ve walked though it in 2 years! Nice job Seattle for finally cleaning up the mess you’ve made. Only a matter of time before these campers show up again but at least there is some semblance of order and identity to the park. Maybe the community would be able to use it too!

Anthony Scott
Guest
Anthony Scott

Bye, bye disgusting junkies and vagrants! Wonder how many O’Brien’s pet dog Jesse Rawlins took in? Or former Seattle Weekly sleaze Casey Jaywork?

Old Ballard F@rt
Guest
Old Ballard F@rt

Maybe they should rename the park, “Mike O’Brien Hobo Park”

Shilsholer
Guest
Shilsholer

Thank you for covering this, Geeky Swedes, but there is more to the story.

A family park that’s kitty corner from the neighborhood library shouldn’t be a KOA campground that allows bike chop shops and drug deals.

Angela Reed
Guest
Angela Reed

I am a nanny in the neighborhood and have witnessed homeless people in the park screaming profanities at children. There are very few places children can play in that neighborhood. In the summer, the spray features don’t begin until 11am. It is stressful to have vulnerable kids screamed at just for existing. I’d like to see playground equipment installed on some of the green space.

Formerly Homeless Ballard Guy.
Guest
Formerly Homeless Ballard Guy.

Man…such hate and intolerance here.

I am not saying that the homeless are harmless and should be coddled…but by the sounds of nearly ALL of the comments here, it’s as if you’re talking about a spreading cancer or an invading force of foreign military fighters…

These people, as unsightly and unpleasant TO YOU as they might be, are also HUMAN BEINGS, suffering daily and struggling to survive. These aren’t societal CHEATERS, who are winning against you because they aren’t playing by the rules…they are PEOPLE…who have been dealt a long string of bad hands, that have overcome their ability to get by by “playing the game” that we all play of waking up, working, getting paid, paying rent, and going to bed in our homes.

Try and remember that MOST Americans are merely a few bad choices, or a few runs of bad luck away from losing it all. These people, though they appear as aliens to you, are not as different to you as they are the same.

Have some damn compassion. The viciousness and bile used in describing these poor souls here is stomach churning.
If there’s a God, may he have mercy with you and your horrible judgemental privileged attitudes..

The nanny
Guest
The nanny

I am neither judgmental nor privileged. But I don’t think the solution to Seattle’s homeless problem is to move into public parks, especially when there are so few places for children in the neighborhood. Excuse me for wanting them to have a safe place to play.

Shilsholer
Guest
Shilsholer

@ FHBG –

The city has been more than generous and compassionate with regard to our homeless population. Prior to a sweep the city’s navigation team will connect with all parties and offer services and shelter. It’s an opportunity to make some good choices. The majority opt not to take the city up on its offer.

While walking the park (which I voted for, btw, in a Levy) I’ve seen arguments, fights, and drug use. Assaults, theft, and stabbings have also occurred in that little park. I can easily see why the locals (myself included) want it addressed.

Old Ballard F@rt
Guest
Old Ballard F@rt

“These aren’t societal CHEATERS, who are winning against you because they aren’t playing by the rules”

Actually they are.

Old Ballard F@rt
Guest
Old Ballard F@rt

“Try and remember that MOST Americans are merely a few bad choices”

Horse-pucky.

You have to make a ton of bad decisions and burn hundreds of bridges to wind up like these people in Ballard Commons.

West
Guest
West

I believe we are encouraging their choice to live there by ignoring them and letting them use drugs illegally right in front of us! These are not people trying these are people who have given up and we get to watch and co exsist with them! Well if they are denying help then they need to move on! They have not hit their rock bottom yet what ever the hell that will be! All we can do is pray! Even the church forbids the worst of them who are a threat to others. People who live in filth as these people do are a threat to our health and safety!

Pork Pie
Member
Pork Pie

I find it hard to believe that the ACLU actually would defend the right for someone to sit in a public park and inject heroin in front of children but if they indeed would do so, I need to rethink my $50 monthly donation to them.

Jalair Box
Guest

If you live or work in proximity, please come to the Ballard District Council meeting Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Merrill Gardens Ballard 2418 NW 56th St.. Speak Out Seattle! will facilitate this portion of the meeting to help neighbors tell their story of what Ballard Commons means to them and how they have been impacted by the unsanctioned encampment and behaviors. p.s., if you are from across town, please note that locals will be given preference for testimony.

Old Ballard F@rt
Guest
Old Ballard F@rt

“Both people declined the city’s offer for shelter.”

Are the pillows not fluffy enough at the shelter?

So explain again whose fault it is these characters are homeless?

Mayor
Guest

they’re going to clean and it’s based on the most immediate public health and safety risks

Long Time Ballard
Guest
Long Time Ballard

Maryann,
my comment above actually has a lot to do with the story. As I walked through the Commons park I couldn’t help but notice a good number of bicycles being dismantled. Some of the parts were old, but a number of them looked like they came from new bikes. This was of interest to me since in the past 3 years we’ve had 3 bicycles stolen from our property. Yes, our cable locks we’re thick enough. Everyone knows its a “chop shop” in plain sight, yet no one does anything about it. Get wise people.
By the way, for those on 57th and 58th st and who have noticed in an uptick in crime, its due to the flow of homeless folks who live by the train tracks and commute to the Commons area between midnight and 5 AM.
Lastly, I won’t give up and move. Instead I’m helping organize my neighbors for block watches and to encourage voting.

Maryann
Guest
Maryann

@Longtime Ballard,
Funny you didn’t mention that in your first comment. You talked about a package thief with a car– that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the homeless at the Ballard Commons.

Don’t tell me to get wise. I’m sure you’re one of the homeless-obsessed Nextdoor people who is also against HALA, and other truly ideas that are so desperately needed, yet despise because of your NIMBY attitude.

“By the way, for those on 57th and 58th st and who have noticed in an uptick in crime, its due to the flow of homeless folks who live by the train tracks and commute to the Commons area between midnight and 5 AM.”

Do you have proof? If not, you’re a no-good liar, that’s all