New fence, locks at Genesee Hill target vandals, says district

We photographed the new fencing, lock, and signage at closed Genesee Hill Elementary‘s southeast field, after multiple tips from WSB’ers. They wondered if it had to do with the field’s popularity as an unofficial off-leash dog park. No, says Diane Taguba with Seattle Public Schools, who answered our inquiry:

The fence at Genesee Hill recently repaired and secured was not due to the “dog park” use, but to prevent additional vandalism that was happening to the building. To maintain building security, we do not intend to reopen the gates anytime soon. To also note, it is district policy that dogs are not allowed on district property without proper authorization.

Genesee Hill has been closed since Pathfinder K-8 moved out in summer of 2009. It’s considered a possible site for building a new school or extensively renovating the old one as part of the BEX IV levy that will be finalized this year and sent to voters next year. (Three public meetings about that levy are set for next month, including one in West Seattle on April 5th.)

60 Replies to "New fence, locks at Genesee Hill target vandals, says district"

  • ensignmarvin March 16, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    Was just there today and came from the south thru the old blacktop side and went down to play. Only noticed the chain when trying to exit onto Genesee. Had to go back up to get out. The building(s) are not closed off at all.

  • Jtk March 16, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    Are regular pigs allowed then. Just as so it doesn’t have a pot belly?

  • CrazyLady666 March 16, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    I’m glad the dogs are finally banned. Wish they would turn this plot of land into a Motocross Park or Gun Range.

  • CrazyLady666 March 16, 2012 (5:39 pm)

    Potbellied pigs were once popular pets. Yeah it be nice to show up to a park with a 350-lb wild Russian boar and see what Animal Control would do.

  • 4thGenWestSide March 16, 2012 (5:54 pm)

    Because we all know that vandals can’t climb fences…

  • Cam March 16, 2012 (6:10 pm)

    As a frequent user of this park, I am bummed that they would lock it up like this. Don’t they realize that 1) Many of us would pay a donation type of fee to use this park as an off leash dog park…2) by having people around the park, especially dogs, wouldn’t they think that it will most likely decrease vandalism. Again, another great move by Seattle Public Schools.

  • norsk girl March 16, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    That school site is a regular drug hang-out…quick stops to sell along 51st, climbing to the roof and around to the N. side to smoke. All regularly observed (and also regularly called in). Gee, wonder if a fixed and locked fence to a muddy field will solve the drug problem?

  • WTF March 16, 2012 (6:20 pm)

    The people who own homes along the field must be so glad!

  • JayDee March 16, 2012 (6:54 pm)


    “as a frequent user of this park”… It is not a park, it is a temporary idled school property. It is clear from your comments you may have used it as an off-leash area for your dog (or pot-bellied pig, or cat). Not only is it not a park, no non-designated park or school property are off-leash dog, pot-bellied pig, or cat areas. The area of Westcrest that is a dog off-leash area is, but there are no fees to use it.

  • chuck and Sally's Van Man March 16, 2012 (7:08 pm)

    LOL @ jtk; while the language specifies a pot-bellied pig, the graphic is of a farm/feeder pig. What no llamas or parrots? Silly sign.

  • Snow Wimp March 16, 2012 (7:22 pm)

    Some piglet removed the original “no dog sign.” Probably of the human pig variety. I doubt a german shephard or cocker spaniel removed the “no dog sign.” Happy. Happy. Now. 1-2-3. Dog owners. Whine. Whine. And, then, whine a bit more.

  • Eddie March 16, 2012 (7:22 pm)

    Cam – if you think opening a pay-to-play off leash dog park is a good idea, then plunk down some cash and start ‘er up!

  • JN March 16, 2012 (7:27 pm)

    Maybe NOW dog-owners will finally obey the rules and keep their mutts on the leash. After being bitten by an off-leash dog, I have zero-tolerance for any animal off of a leash. If your dog attacks me or comes near me and I don’t know its intentions, Fido’s going to get drop-kicked or punched in the muzzle, depending on the breed.

  • Snow Wimp March 16, 2012 (7:41 pm)

    These School grounds are watched, doggie owners. The authorities will be called, doggie owners.

    Now, 1-2-3, doggie owners. whine, whine, and whine. LOL.

  • Snow Wimp March 16, 2012 (7:58 pm)

    Oh, yeah, Cam. Since when has that school site been classified as a park? You wishing it so, does not make it so. Can I classify your living room as a park? Just because I want it so? And, perhaps, use it so?


  • Snow Wimp March 16, 2012 (8:16 pm)


    As much as I wish that doggie owners will now obey the rules, I think you can forget about it. I regularly see Mr. Bozo walking his dog on Beach Drive, and running his dear pooch in Me Kwa Mooks Park. Leash? No, of course not. The rules do not apply to Mr. Bozo. He is above the law. Me Kwa is Mr. Bozo’s personal off leash property. City owned, but in Mr. Bozo’s warped mind, it is his.

    No more tolerance from me. None. Anywhere.

  • orca March 16, 2012 (10:11 pm)

    Inside joke? Who is Mr. Bozo?

    I don’t have a dog but think this is just another public employee exercising authority. Who did the dog owners hurt?
    If they were locking up the buildings I would think they would block off the easy access first.
    Let the dog owners be. They need somewhere to exercise those beasts.
    BTW @JN Those dogs were off leash behind a fence and gate. I really don’t think you were in danger from them unless you intentionally went inside.

  • EmmyJane March 16, 2012 (10:22 pm)

    I’m guessing if there were a dog park closer than a 15 minute drive, people wouldn’t abuse off-leash rules so much. It’s amazing with as much public land and parks we have around here that we can’t get more off-lease areas. There’s obviously a need for them.

  • Mike March 16, 2012 (10:29 pm)

    Just remember Snow Wimp, the official code states in SMC 9.25.084 subsection B (which is what that sign pertains to):

    B. Permit any cat, dog, potbelly pig or other animal to enter any public
    fountain or any school ground while school is in session or during
    after-school activities. It is not a violation of this subsection for an
    owner to permit an animal to enter on to any school ground when school is
    not in session and no after-school activities are taking place if the animal
    is on leash and the owner has in his or her immediate possession a device to
    remove properly any feces the animal may deposit on school grounds;


    I might consider Snow Wimp to be an animal, I hope they are not found on school grounds without their leash and a poop bag near by

  • Sunny March 16, 2012 (10:39 pm)

    I get that there are some people out there that don’t like dogs, but I don’t see why it’s such a big deal that dog owners use the park. As long as they are conscious of other people (families or kids) who also want to play at the park. I feel like the area is safer and more upkept with the constant use. It would be a different situation if the school was inuse but it’s not so get off it! Just drive on by and don’t let it affect your day. Jees, aren’t there worse things in the community to complain about! Put your efforts elsewhere.

  • resident3 March 16, 2012 (10:49 pm)

    FYI Going to westcrest park as a single woman is scary. It starts in the parking lot where there is often broken glass from a recent car break in. Then many times while walking the loop of the off leash area I’ve encountered questionable men hanging out in the secluded back areas. When I first moved to west Seattle I was a volunteer at their clean up parties and really gave my support to that dog park but lost interest after not feeling safe walking my dog around there. I drive all the way to marymoor or grandview on weekends but that’s not really something all west seattle dog owners can or should have to do. If we had a better safer outlet id like to think we’d use it. I would!

  • Fiwa Jcbbb March 16, 2012 (11:51 pm)

    I do not own a dog, I live next to the old Pathfinder where my kids went to school, and I LOVE seeing people play with their dogs there. Good times! This is community property, and so long as you pick up the dung, you’re welcome to run your dogs there. I have never seen drug deals going on…some of you are making it out to be like the back of then Pogey tavern…ridiculous. I may go buy some bolt cutters tomorrow. Dear Snow Wimp: Please move to Bellevue, really you’d be much happier there…it’s full of people like you.

  • WSmom March 17, 2012 (12:04 am)

    This really makes me sad for my puppy he is going to miss his friends!

  • JN March 17, 2012 (12:11 am)

    @Orca, when I was bitten by an off-leash dog it was walking up Jacobsen on the sidewalk. And if I had decided to go inside this gated area (interesting to know that these dog owners totally ignored the signs explicitly forbidding off-leash dogs, no?), I would be perfectly within my rights to defend myself against an aggressive dog with whatever means I had at my disposal (i.e., fists, feet or whatever rock or stick I could find). The scofflaws who let their dogs roam free, wrestling with each other while children are trying to play on the jungle-gym set, are the ones who are at complete fault.

  • Neighborly March 17, 2012 (12:39 am)

    Bring back pot-bellied pigs!

  • orca March 17, 2012 (5:19 am)

    @ JN
    I wonder if that rant made any rational sense to anyone else.

  • ohthehorror March 17, 2012 (5:54 am)

    In summary, Snow Wimp really, really has issues with dogs. With the murders, assaults and home invasion/burglaries going on, it’s good to know his/her rage is focused in the right place. (BTW, you may want to talk to a mental health professional about “Mr. Bozo”. I’m thinking that you’re the only one who sees him…)

  • Marie March 17, 2012 (8:39 am)

    Is this much-ado about little?
    I think the locked gate only limits direct access by vehicles (and now bi-and quad-peds), but if you’re on foot the field is easily accessible through an open gate just 80 or so feet west, then up & down a wide walkway. Easy peasy and you’re back to where not only dogs are exercised off-leash, but where parents also bring kids to a play area and an old baseball field.
    The drug site that norsk girl refers to is the opposite end of the old school grounds, off Dakota and 51st, though I suspect the great new pea patch up there has nudged users along some.
    I’m with Sunny, the more community members using the field, the safer and tidier it is and–bonus!–lots of peeps and dogs just having fun.

  • Jtm March 17, 2012 (9:33 am)

    Our tax dollars pay for this ‘idled school property.’ I’ll continue to take my dog there any time I see fit – I agree with whoever said Warercrest is scary. Dogs and owners using this public field aren’t hurting anyone. Authorities (and tattlers) need to find something better to do with their time.

  • Trying! March 17, 2012 (9:41 am)

    I am part of the volunteer group trying to keep-up the school grounds and trying to involve the community. Unless the community comes together these problems will only get worse! I have been told that even if the BEX IV levy goes through nothing will happen until 2016. Without community involvement what do think will happen to these abandoned buildings and grounds! (And, Yes, I have noticed dog walkers are important watchdogs in protecting the grounds and have made many call-ins when there were problems)

  • Bob H. March 17, 2012 (9:51 am)

    Snow Wimp and JN, do you need a hug?

    There will always be a small subset of irresponsible people making it look bad for everyone else, whether it is dog owners, bicyclists, drivers, alcohol drinkers, bus riders, homeowners, apartment-dwellers, etc, etc, etc… They are either ignorant or know the written/unwritten rules and just don’t care. At the same time most of us think the world revolves around us on some level and just don’t get why no one else sees it. Thus our Passive-Aggressive behavior.

  • crowen March 17, 2012 (9:52 am)

    What a blatant lie, Diane Taguba! Last time I checked, dogs, cats and pot-bellied pigs could not smoke or hold a can of spray paint and do not vandalize buildings. If you are really concerned about vandals, you would fence off the buildings and post signs that said No Loitering or something.

    I completely agree that having people and their dogs around PREVENTS vandalism! I can’t believe the city is seriously paying people to worry about this in the middle of a budget crisis!

    @Mike – thanks for posting the Seattle Municipal Code!!! I’ll not hesitate to use the Genesee Hill school grounds as I’m entitled now…

  • Bob H. March 17, 2012 (9:53 am)

    There is clearly an unfulfilled demand for an off-leash dog park in that vicinity. Large areas like this are hard to come by in Seattle, and a lot of people in Seattle own dogs, especially in a suburban-ish environment like our beloved West Seattle. I’d personally like to see 1 or 2 fenced acres just for this purpose in the Genessee/Admiral area. I’m sure some sort of public-private-volunteer arrangement could be figured out.

    Unused and vacant lots and buildings will inevitably get used by someone, whether it is for good things like impromptu dog parks, soccer matches, and P-Patches, or for less-desirable things. Not allowing positive uses of empty public assets is wasteful. It comes down to quality of life for the population as a whole.

  • steve March 17, 2012 (10:12 am)

    some great comments, and thanks for that link to the seattle muni code,,, will have to print that out.

    Bob h, kudos for pointing out the non-use of public assets is wasteful..

    Snow Wimp, I’m sure the police are eagerly waiting your call. I have it on authority they don’t do anything all day and would love to respond to people lawfully using a piece of property (ie. the link above).

    Its not like a dead body was found floating in the bay or anything. These lawless dog walkers SHALL NOT PASS! NO TOLERANCE!!!!

  • Trying! March 17, 2012 (10:45 am)

    The Genesee/Schmitz neighborhood is considered under served according to the Seattle Parks Department. Schmitz Park is not considered useable for community recreation, i.e. no picnic benches or playground, etc. We need more public places, hence the public’s use of the school grounds for the playground, basketball courts and the lower field. None of these are maintained for use, and public use is bearly tolerated by the Seattle School system. Again, the community has to come together.

  • Wild One March 17, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    I completely agree with the comment made by Bob H.

  • Joplin March 17, 2012 (12:42 pm)

    Bob H. Thank you for bringing some civility to the conversation.

  • JN March 17, 2012 (1:13 pm)

    The law is still the law. Go ahead and try to change it by starting an initiative or something, but you still have to obey it while it is in place. This particular law is in place to protect people and other on-leash dogs from those that run free and can cause harm to others. By letting your dog off of it’s leash, you are asking for trouble. I can’t tell you how many times while running or walking a dog has run up to me, nipping at my heels or barking aggressively, only to hear the delusional owner yell, “it’s okay, he’s friendly!”. I have no problems with dogs, only those that are able, by not being restrained, to do me physical harm.

  • Snow Wimp March 17, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Dog Lovers, Unite. Rationalize all you want. That is Seattle School District property, not your off-leash area. You have a dog? You take care of it. You walk it where it is legal to do so. I don’t like your dear doggies trashing the neighborhood.I don’t like your dear doggies walking off-leash. Period.

    “Oh, it’s OK, my doggie doesn’t crap. My doggie doesn’t bite. My doggie doesn’t dig.” LOL at righteous doggie owners.

    “We buy the doggie, YOU pay the consequences. Temporarily un-used schools are there for un-leashed doggies and their owners.” Hehe, love it.

    Don’t worry too much, though, I have yet to call the cops on anybody. Not even self-righteous off-leash dog owners. So, go ahead, run ’em free, dude.

  • Mary M. March 17, 2012 (7:37 pm)

    I don’t even own a dog, and this ticks me off. If the District wants to stop vandals why don’t they invest on some LIGHTING. The field and the playground are pitch dark at night. I have to walk by there on my way from work and in the winter when it gets dark at 4 it is SCARY. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been awakened in the wee hours of the morning because some miscreant has set off the fire alarm in the building. Criminals don’t like to be visible. Trade in your stupid, useless padlocks for a lighting system.

    • WSB March 17, 2012 (7:49 pm)

      One suggestion for feedback – might not be immediately obvious to those who don’t regularly deal with the school district for any reason – The school board director for West Seattle is Marty McLaren. You could certainly contact her with concerns about the new lock etc. She has a website and FB page, and contact info through the district’s site. – TR

  • Snow Wimp March 17, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    Thank you, WSB. I will contact her. Since I pay property taxes, I was hoping to park my RV on that un-used school property. No room in my driveway.

  • doglovr March 17, 2012 (11:49 pm)

    I’m with Snow Wimp and the other civilized people who understand that “public property” DOESN’T mean “my property to do with what I please.” And, yes, I have a dog. And, yes, I love dogs. What I don’t care for so much is the entitled dog owner who believes that the law doesn’t pertain to him, and that because I point out that it in fact does, there MUST be something wrong with me. It’s also really annoying to read comments from people who don’t understand the difference between a school, where dogs are allowed after hours ON LEASH, and an OFF-LEASH park. It’s the same people who simply can’t understand why someone would get grumpy when Fluffy jumps all over them with his muddy paws. “But he’s friendly,” I’ve heard them offer, always with a smile, as if a smile will get the mud stains off of someone else’s clothes.
    It’s precisely those entitled owners who make all dog owners look bad, even those of us who obey the rules and keep our dogs on a leash, and pick up after them.
    Some people are clearly selectively dense.

  • Rodney King March 18, 2012 (8:45 am)

    “cant we all just get along”

  • Best Use? March 18, 2012 (11:42 am)

    We should obey the laws or change them. People should not have to put up with the unwanted attentions of off-leash dogs. But what harm comes from off-leash dogs in a fenced area? (Assuming owners fill their sanitary duties, of course.) Is it better for a publicly-owned area to be denied to everyone or meet an obvious need for a nearby, safe off-leash area for dogs? (Actually, the human owners are off leash, too.) I know it is illegal to let dogs run off-leash in that area, but SHOULD it be? No joggers will be chased around unless they choose to jog through the area when dogs are present. I haven’t seen any joggers/pedestrians complain about the locked gate, so it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Of course, this would be revisited if/when Pathfinder School re-opens. Until then, why not allow greater use for this valuable public asset?

  • M. March 18, 2012 (3:41 pm)

    Until areas are designated for off-leash such as Public schools, parks etc., your dog is not allowed to be off leash. If you would like to have a place considered, take the steps to make it happen. So sad to see so many who deliberately fail to follow simple rules. It seems many rationalize, allowing them to pick and choose which laws to follow as it suits them. Seattle Animal Shelter takes complaints very seriously, provide a license plate# or an address, first time offenders will be sent a letter reminding them of the rules. Further complaints may result in fines. Be a responsible pet owner and citizen. Seattle Animal Shelter 386-7387, prompt #7 to report. To all those who are responsible pet owners, we thank you!

  • Snow Wimp March 18, 2012 (4:45 pm)

    Best Use:

    I have been thinking a lot lately about using that un-used Genesee Hill School site for storing my wood pallets. I try to get all the rusty nails out. Please be careful, when you run your dogs through there. LOL

  • ILoveWestSeattle March 18, 2012 (5:45 pm)

    Well-said, doglovr…from a fellow dog owner/lover. As with almost everything in life, the few spoil it for the many.

  • LP March 18, 2012 (8:13 pm)

    We just left the vigil for the women murdered so close to this Genese neighborhood. If the city is truly looking out for a citizen’s safety, how does having responsible neighbors in a visibly active, vibrant dog-park not enhance the safety that women deserved? God help those complaining in this post if, as a result of this newly found “justice”, we find ourselves with another such victim even closer to our homes by providing bad-guys with more dark places to work their evil. How, having so many wonderful, thoughtful neighbors gathering responsibly in a tax-payer paid for, neighborhood-maintained, otherwise useless piece of grass and dirt, is NOT a fantastic way of avoiding repeating that terrible tragedy; it’s beyond me. God be with that poor women’s family. I know there are those trying to make the city see the wisdom of making this an official dog park, but in the meantime, I for one, support this act of civil disobedience. It helps keep my family safer.

  • prmorris March 18, 2012 (10:30 pm)

    I’m very disappointed that the school’s field has been locked. Those that bring their dogs out for a stretch are very responsible. My experience is that we ensure that our pets are supervised and that everyone takes care to clean up before leaving.

    Until the school district has plans for the school’s renovation, I do not see a problem in putting the field to good use for the community. I use Westcrest park as often as possible, but it is a good 15 minute drive from the Admiral district.

  • JN March 18, 2012 (10:34 pm)

    LP, way to pimp out a recent tragedy to justify your law-breaking. That is a mighty big leap from making sure dogs aren’t running loose (against city law) to “our unleashed animals protect you unknowing citizens from murder!”. That was pretty crass of you.

  • M. March 18, 2012 (11:49 pm)

    Well put, JN.

  • CrazyLady666 March 19, 2012 (6:40 am)

    Hopefully the playground opens before the next snow as this park as some of the best skiing south of downtown.

  • Marie March 19, 2012 (4:14 pm)

    Well said, LP. While granted that the law is being broken when dogs are off-leash in that field, responsible dog owners enjoying an otherwise unused piece of public property are not only not hurting anyone or anything, but are a visible and active presence in helping keep a safer neighborhood. I walk near this area often and am very glad for the additional eyes and ears the owners and dogs bring to the area.

  • LP March 20, 2012 (1:24 pm)

    Re JN & M…”dogs running loose”? The citizens of the community are acting responsibly while making a useless property a dog-park. That’s not “running loose”. It’s illegal at this point for sure but compared to what we’ve now created – a safer place for drug dealers to hang out – how’s that better? To me the ignorance of the city regarding very dangerous elements makes this civic action so much better than the petty distaste for pet owners’ needs (I’m not one btw). So my association with the recent tragedy is appropriate because that’s exactly how such things evolve. Evil happens in dark places. So maybe you could, instead of just b-ching about our neighbor’s pet needs, come up with an alternative for this space to help this community progress rather than applaud the city’s decision to make a dark-alley; darker.

  • M. March 20, 2012 (3:39 pm)

    Patrolling the school grounds will surely be welcomed. No need for a dog to be off leash to do so. Asking those to follow the leash laws in not b-ching.

  • JN March 20, 2012 (8:41 pm)

    LP, the dogs are a)running around, and b)they are loosed from their leashes, so they are literally running loose. Apparently to you, a safe neighborhood would be one where dogs were running free where they may. Of course, there will be feces lying everywhere, and children won’t be able to play in their own front yards due to fear of being mauled, but hey, those dogs are protecting our freedom and safety!

    Open your doors and unlock your windows, West Seattle! LP is coming with the Golden Horde of Golden Retrievers to protect us all!

  • Ellen Hendrick March 22, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    I have a service dog and it’s crucial for them to have a chance to run free or they often get depressed. The park was close to home and a wonderful place for Charlie to stretch his legs and enrich his soul. Also, great for me to talk to other dog owners. I struggle with depression too and that park helped me more than any med has ever done! Can we organize and fight for it?

  • Jon March 22, 2012 (9:36 pm)

    I live right by the school. I find it interesting that one week after I contacted a member of city council. The school is used by kids to smoke and drink. Without the dog owners using it as a contained area for their offleash dogs it get almost no use by people other than the narfarious teens. So let’s try to improve our neighborhood and let people create spaces they like. There are many parks close by for people who don’t lime dogs and the crazy guy who is going to beat your off leash dog if it comes near.. Hahaha what a maroon! As B bunny would say. By the way I’m not going to empty the garbage can that is full of dog xoo and it’s filling up with water… So the lady from the school board can when she unlocks the gate. Contact you city council and mayor and tell them we want a dog park there until something happens with the school. Read the law it says no dogs during school hours. It’s not even a school so the sign is stupid. Are we really spending money on locks that don’t protect the s hooligan and out dated signs. The woman in this article should be ashamed of wasting my money.. Fire her and get someone who can come up with solutions. Big smile out to my fellow dog park visitors.. Izzy says aaaahhhhooooooo

  • Jon March 22, 2012 (10:00 pm)

    Sorry typing on my phone
    I live right by the school. I find it interesting The lock was placed there one week after I contacted a member of city council to ask if we could Get a moritorium on tickets. The school is used by kids to smoke and drink. Without the dog owners using it as a “contained area” for their offleash dogs it get almost no use by people other than the narfarious teens. So let’s try to improve our neighborhood and let people create spaces they like and use. If The school had children there it would be different. There are many parks close by for people who don’t like dogs… Oh and the crazy guy who is going to beat your off leash dog if it comes near.. He can maybe go to a different park. Hahaha what a maroon! As Bugs bunny would say. By the way I’m not going to empty the garbage can that is full of dog xoo and it’s filling up with water… So the lady from the school board can when she unlocks the gate. Contact you city council and mayor and tell them we want a dog park there until something happens with the school. Read the law it says no dogs during school hours. It’s not even a school so the sign is stupid. Are we really spending money on locks that don’t protect the s hooligan and out dated signs. The woman in this article should be ashamed of wasting my money.. Fire her and get someone who can come up with solutions. Big smile out to my fellow dog park visitors.. Izzy says aaaahhhhooooooo

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