Ballard Commons S#it Show

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    Catherine – Thanks for rolling up your sleeves and looking into some of these ideas for us.

    Regarding “activating the park”, I suggest contacting Mike Stewart, ED of the Ballard Chamber ( for information about those plans and how to get involved. Getting involved is key to the success of any community effort.



    NWCitizen, I think district elections is all about a city council member rolling up their sleeves, making connections, and helping to get things done.



    Get involved, NW? I did.

    Well, I did some digging around about where the push for playground is coming from. I called Mike at the chamber also. Apparently the meetings are held at–wait for it– a little candy store where he sells candy, ice cream, cotton candy, and all other goodies that KIDS want and PARENTS buy!!!

    Yess, Mr. Randy the Candy man, owner of Sweet Mickey,is at it again. He chairs the meetings also!! Sorry, but I find this to be a conflict of interest.

    If we really want to choose the best solution, keep greediness out of it.



    FYI – Today at 2:30 PM Sunday 14th of June, there was an SPD bike patrol officer in the Ballard Commons park and I just watched him talk to two lots of people and remind them that they were not allowed to camp in the park and not to play the radio. He was so patient and understanding but very firm and made one guy pack up his belongings into his re-purposed stroller! I was very impressed and thanked him for being there and doing a good job. He said he appreciated the thanks!



    Wow Vegan Biker, that did not last long! I went there to meet up with my sister and kids about5:30 and there was camping, belonging left near 2 trees (sans people), sleeping with crap all over, and a loud group assembled nearer the west end as we walked to QFC.

    I do appreciate the SPD approach lately, even if it does nothing.



    Wow – and WOW Lara, that is depressing! I actually thought, with my pea brain, that he was making a difference! I should have realized that as soon as he left they would all move back, darn.
    What to do?…..



    Last week I was riding past the Commons and noticed a Pronto bike cable locked to the bike rack in the South East corner. It was somewhat in bad shape with a flat rear tire and seat twisted round, so I took a photo and contacted Pronto and the bike had been missing for a while, They came out and recovered it ASAP. So if you see Pronto bikes that are locked up in the usual homeless spots in Ballard there is a good chance they are stolen. The closest Pronto station is in SLU and that is a 20-30- minutes ride therefore a good bet that it is not in legal use. There is a ID number on the chain stay that you can check with the Pronto folks.


    The Bunny

    hi all,

    I did meet with Catherine Weatbrook on Friday afternoon. She’s a long time Ballard resident who is very community involved and let me know organizations like Nyre Urness house and St. Lukes have Good Neighbor agreements that may need to be revisited addressed and she is going to get me in contact with who has those. She’s a good resource but it’s all of our responsibility to drive things around here (since our current city council, police, etc need a strong push to get things going). And just to note as some feel maybe myself and a few others are seemingly unfairly pointing a finger at these organizations nearby, I will say last week when the usual sh#t show was going on in the Commons, I immediately drove by the Corners park at 62nd & 17th and Gilman Park at 54th & 9th and not one person hanging out there in what’s been described here. And that’s not the first time I took that data point. So I’m simply calling out what I see and feel to be at issue here at the Commons and outside the commons along the perimeter.

    I do notice an uptick in police patrols but obviously this is not going to completely resolve the issues of the day. As I have said before, I do believe we can live beside and help the homeless. What my concern here is these organizations are not seemingly taking responsibility and being accountable for what happens outside their walls in the community they reside.

    As for the Commons playground discussion, there’s a new’ish wonderful playground around the corner at the Ballard Corners at 62nd & 17th that seems under utilized. A great playground at Golden Gardens as well as large play areas at Gilman Park and the park at ~26th & 60th that if more playground equipment is wanted, focus on those areas with more room. The Commons grass area is small and there’s already the fountain and the skate park for kids. If people wish to have a discussion about this, please start a separate thread. I suggest calling it “Sweet Micky’s S#it Show.”

    So I hope people keep working collectively to address the issues of our neighborhood. It’s hard for me to keep trying but somehow I do keep finding myself doing it.


    great idea

    if you think Ballard Commons Park has more problems than Gilman Park, then you need to get out more.

    one anecdotal drive-by does not constitute the reality. they are very different parks but Gilman has had plenty of issues on par or exceeding those at BC.

    why are you guys all so averse to a playground?

    I honestly don’t care who is spearheading this idea, but to suggest that one 7 blocks away and another 12 blocks away as an acceptable distance is ridiculous. I bet most of you had playground equipment in your backyard growing up.

    with our increasing density we need a lot more such amenities. much of our local development has been criticized as being ill-suited for families. if I lived above the QFC, I would rather see a playground (which are generally well-used) than any of your other hare-brained ideas.



    I think a playground is an excellent idea and I don’t have kids. If you want a park cleaned up, get the kids to come. They tend to bring their parents and in my experience nothing beats a smack down than one delivered by momma and papa bear. And so what if the candy guy benefits by selling more sweets? Should we just leave it to the drug dealers instead? Yeesh.



    Bunny, thanks for your posts and mini-report!

    Personally, I’m with Marigold on the playground issue — seems like a good idea in general (and I don’t have kids either).



    My kids have aged out of playgrounds, but I agree that adding one to Ballard Commons will help keep the place full of folks using the park as intended, and not as a camping area or impromptu bar. While there are other Ballard playgrounds, the area around Ballard Commons is nearly all multi-family housing or single houses with minimal yard space. Kids in the area could use a place to play outside, and having it adjacent to the library is a huge bonus. 12 blocks is a LONG trek with a preschooler, and while 7 is doable I definitely recall days with two little kids in the house when the park 4 blocks from our home felt unreachable unless I was willing to get the car out. And isn’t the city envisioning a Ballard full of families without cars?



    You know what I mean by “impromtu bar,” although frankly put that way it sounds kinda attractive… Playground to the right, cocktails for parents to the left? It would never fly.


    The Bunny

    In response to “great idea,” I get out plenty and to many parks & neighborhoods in the city. But Ballard is my home of 20+ years. Admittedly Gilman park is not one of the parks I go to but I stand by what I saw when I checked it out in recent weeks. And if you re-read my post, you will see I’m not adverse to a playground in general. The Commons is a small park that already has a few of these types of amenities.



    At least 7 SPD cars, Engine 8, ambulance today. One of them taken into ambulance. Anyone know why such heavy presence?


    Gilman gal

    I walk past Gilman Park two times a day. What I’m seeing is underage drinking and the littering of the containers.

    And the car campers and drug dealers haven’t really showed up yet this year.
    It’s nice for a change, but we’ll see.



    At least the Ballard Commons Park isn’t nearly as bad as Pioneer Square, which looks like a third world refugee camp.



    Lara, the incident on the 17th was an attempted suicide at QFC. I know someone who witnessed it. The individual was walking through the store downing first Benadyrl then Nyquil and finally mixed some kind of drain unclogger with a drink and swallowed it. My friend said QFC was initially reluctant to call the police (probably because he had not committed a shop lifting crime unless he left the store w/o paying) but did so when he drank the Draino cocktail. Don’t know if he made it.

    On the park issue, I live a block from the park and walk through it or use it with my granddaughter all the time. We have not been bothered by the homeless people. If someone wants to lay there sleeping whether he is doing it because he has passed out or because he is sunning himself is not really my business as long as he isn’t exposing himself or trying to intimidate me. I have been impressed with Catherine’s comments and wish her well in her campaign.

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