THURSDAY: City Council committee to consider new lease for West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club operation of rifle range

FIRST REPORT, 9:39 PM WEDNESDAY: That’s the Roger Dahl Rifle Training Range at West Seattle Stadium. Tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:30 am, the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Waterfront Committee will consider renewing the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club‘s long-running lease to operate it. (The photo is part of the item on the meeting agenda.)

The proposal is for a 12-year lease with an option for a five-year extension after that. The club would pay the city $1,000 a year, up from the $200 annual payment in the lease that’s expiring.

While the range is part of a Seattle Parks facility, the Sportsmen’s Club has been involved with it for more than 50 years, since it was built in 1961, and, as the proposed ordinance going before the council says, “through a series of agreements with Parks and Recreation, has continuously maintained the facility at its own cost and expense ever since.” The new release would continue that arrangement; the city says that before the club signed its most recent lease in 2003, “the Club repaired their firing line and put in new HVAC improvements.” The slide deck for tomorrow’s meeting also notes that the club provides a number of other public benefits, including “reduced-fee access for youth programs regarding safe and proper recreational use of firearms and archery tackle,” low-cost hunter-education programs for up to 120 students a year, and several types of “community outreach” regarding firearms safety.

Tomorrow’s 9:30 am meeting at City Hall starts with a public-comment period; if you can’t be there but are interested in this item or anything else on the agenda, the meeting will be live on Seattle Channel, cable 21 or online.

ADDED 2:28 PM THURSDAY: This passed unanimously at today’s committee vote, and a final vote will be on next Monday afternoon’s City Council agenda (2 pm March 6th).

19 Replies to "THURSDAY: City Council committee to consider new lease for West Seattle Sportsmen's Club operation of rifle range"

  • Gary Moseley March 1, 2017 (10:46 pm)

    The West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club has been operating a precision marksmanship facility on this site since 1912 (105 years).   The original facility was open air until the stadium was originally built.   The range was then nested under the wooden bleachers with old mattresses to soften the sounds as football fans cheered above.   After WW2 the facilities were located in the Quonset huts abandoned by the barrage balloon battalion stationed there.   The current facility was purpose built as a marksmanship range beginning in 1959 and finished in late 1960.   The south stadium seats were placed over the facility and the entire south complex was occupied and dedicated in 1961.    The facility is opened to the general public on Monday evenings for bulls eye recreational marksmanship.   Feel free to contact the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club for further information about different opportunities for the public to participate in the different leagues and matches as well as safety training and Hunter Education classes.

    • John March 2, 2017 (8:04 am)

      @Gary…  Thanks for the historic background.  That was very informative.

  • Michael March 1, 2017 (10:51 pm)

    Wish I had more notice about this!  Good luck West Seattle Sportsmen!  I do wish they had a bit better website to make it easier to know when the range was open but I’m glad this is available in the neighborhood.

    • WSB March 1, 2017 (11:02 pm)

      I just happened to find it while reading through the City Council committee agendas. I should note that assuming the committee approves it, I believe it then will have one final vote before the full council.

  • Ronnie March 2, 2017 (1:07 am)

    Yes KEEP this unique club there please…

  • Jim March 2, 2017 (5:40 am)

    In my Hi-Yu days I can remember going to the “Shoot an Toot” event each year. It was a Chili Feed…

    • newnative March 2, 2017 (10:50 am)

      I am in love with that name.  Shoot an Toot!

  • Andy March 2, 2017 (6:02 am)

    I have shot .22 caliber pistols and rifles here for years. It is a great way to learn firearm safety and marksmanship.

  • Space Dust March 2, 2017 (7:11 am)

    I’ve lived in W/S for 53 years and never knew the about the Sportsman club. 

    I say keep it .

  • Fred Johnson March 2, 2017 (11:06 am)

    Tracy – do you know if there is a current lead-contamination assessment of the facility and/or the surrounding grounds?

    • WSB March 2, 2017 (11:42 am)

      Don’t know about current but one of the documents linked to the agenda mentions that lead-related work was done in the early 2000s.

      • Chuck Jacobs March 2, 2017 (8:12 pm)

        The W.S. Sportsmen’s club did a major remodel a few years ago. They installed a three stage HEPA air filtration system along with special epoxy floor paint which resists lead absorption. 

        • rob March 2, 2017 (9:44 pm)

          to add to that a bit, the floor gets cleaned after every use and the lead is collected and recycled.

  • Peter March 2, 2017 (4:02 pm)

    “The club would pay the city $1,000 a year”

    That is ridiculous. That is was WAY below market rate for that size space regardless of tenant improvements. We’re being robbed. They need to pay reasonable market rate rent, not get giveaways from taxpayers. This is not acceptable. Please join mean in contacting the city council to oppose this travesty.

    • Gary Moseley March 2, 2017 (10:15 pm)


       Please feel free to contact me through the web site of the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club and I’ll send you a copy of the Public Benefit Report recently prepared for the Seattle City Council.   I believe that once you read and study this report you’d agree that the volunteer hours, materials and educational benefits far exceed the market value of the square footage.   We’re an all volunteer organization, a 501c7 not for profit organization rooted in public service.   The space is purpose built as a marksmanship range and not suitable for any other purpose (including just storage space).   A for-profit concession would have to raise costs to the public significantly and not offer any meaningful public benefit to stay in business.   It’s very likely a for-profit business would quickly fail in this facility at this location.   Please contact me and I’ll send you a digital copy of the report.




  • My two cents ... March 2, 2017 (4:44 pm)

     I am for increased gun controls  across the board. I am not a gun owner,  nor do I plan on ever purchasing one. That being said,  I  don’t have any major heartburn over this proposal.  Even when you are at the stadium or track, you very rarely notice or hear any noise, or disruption.   This group appears to be very low-key/low impact  on the community and surrounding area.   They obviously have a history and track record of being responsible.   Why mess up something that has worked for all of these years? 

  • Chuck Jacobs March 2, 2017 (8:21 pm)

    The Roger Dahl Range is truly a hidden jewel in the Seattle Parks system. It is an invaluable facility for hunter education and youth shooting leagues. This is the kind of place where future Olympians get started!

    Everyone in West Seattle should bring the kids this Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm. The range will be open and free as part of Youth Outdoor Adventure Day. There will be shuttles from the parking lot to the other activities at  Camp Long.

  • Gary Moseley March 2, 2017 (9:59 pm)

    The issue of lead has been very important to the leadership of the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club since it was first brought to their attention in 2002.   The range was closed for two years while the club members raised $85,000. to remodel the range and install a state-of-the-art HEPA filter recirculation system.   Recently over $15,000. was spent grinding the concrete floor, removing the dust to a hazmat site using all OSHA precautions.   The floor was treated with a two part epoxy sealant then sealed with a durable clear coat.  New management materials and policies makes this range one of the best managed in the country according to one national lead management expert, Jack Giordano .   The range has been thoroughly inspected by the City of Seattle, King County Hazardous Waste Management, Seattle Public Utilities and Washington’s Department of Ecology.   Every inspection agency reviewed our waste stream and supporting management systems.   Every agency remarked that we are leading examples of how best to manage a marksmanship range.    Mr. Giordano, a marksmanship range health specialist, has asked us to publish a paper regarding lead management and best practices for indoor ranges.   

     The West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club is a 501c7, not for profit organization.   All activities are open to the public.   All activities are volunteer run, there are no paid staff.    All activities are run for the benefit of our community.   A Public Benefit Report has been published for the City Council and is available to anyone who’d like to know about the many opportunities made available through these activities.   Please feel free to contact the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club at if you would like to learn more about the different outreach opportunities available or to request a digital copy of the Public Benefit Report.





    • CAM March 3, 2017 (1:04 am)

      Gary, thank you for answering everyone’s questions so thoroughly and calmly. This is not something that I would pursue for recreation but I’m glad to learn more about it. It sounds like the organization has done a lot to make itself both welcoming to all and low impact on the surrounding environment. 

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