2 Seattle Parks notes, including why Park Rangers’ expansion won’t include West Seattle

Two Seattle Parks Department notes of interest:

SUPERINTENDENT CONFIRMATION: Six months after Mayor Bruce Harrell nominated AP Diaz to be the next Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the City Council is taking up the nomination. It’s the only major item at this Wednesday’s 2 pm meeting of the Public Assets and Homelessness Committee. The agenda documents include this one with Diaz’s written answers to 29 questions about various Parks-related issues as well as about his background and intentions. The committee might vote on the nomination at this meeting, but the full council would have the final say at a subsequent meeting.

MORE PARK RANGERS: City Councilmembers meeting this afternoon as the Seattle Park District Board (video above) were briefed by Diaz on the planned expansion of the Park Ranger program, spending $3 million to add “up to” 26 more rangers (right now the city has just two). But none will be assigned to West Seattle, despite our area having two of the largest parks in the city; the initial plan is for all of those Park Rangers to be deployed downtown and on Capitol Hill. From the slide deck for today’s meeting:

The geographical limitation is attributed in the short run to “bargaining constraints,” according to committee chair Councilmember Andrew Lewis, but that’s subject to change in future contract talks, Diaz said. Meantime, the department is actively recruiting candidates for the positions right now – qualifications are outlined in the full slide deck from today’s meeting. As also detailed in the presentation, the department will keep the board (council) updated on how many citations and warnings are issued, as well as how many “positive interactions” the rangers have. They hope to have the first 11 new rangers hired and trained by midyear.

ADDED TUESDAY: Some commenters wondered about the “bargaining constraints.” Christena Coutsoubos from Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s office has provided this 2008 document for context.

18 Replies to "2 Seattle Parks notes, including why Park Rangers' expansion won't include West Seattle"

  • Brian April 3, 2023 (7:11 pm)

    Do the park rangers typically carry weapons?

    • Mike April 3, 2023 (8:55 pm)

      No, they don’t.  I don’t know if even Washington State game wardens are allowed to carry firearms anymore while on duty.

      • 1994 April 3, 2023 (10:49 pm)

        WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife do have law enforcement positions that carry firearms.

      • Brian April 4, 2023 (8:27 am)

        I don’t mean just guns. Are they going to be toting around pepper spray and tasers?

        • WSB April 4, 2023 (11:21 am)

          Unarmed per the document I just added above.

  • Kyle April 3, 2023 (8:19 pm)

    Cool, I mean it’s not like Alki could use a Park Range or two in the summer. Instead of deploying Park Rangers this summer will they just close the park early again? Also do the Park Rangers belong to a union? Are they police officers and thus bargained by the same police union? I was a little confused.

    • WSB April 3, 2023 (8:36 pm)

      Many government workers are unionized. I don’t know specifically which union but they are not Seattle Police officers so it wouldn’t be that one.

      • onion April 3, 2023 (8:50 pm)

        it looks to me as if the rangers will play more of a crisis management/containment role. A sad reality.

    • Auntie April 3, 2023 (8:48 pm)

      I believe all Parks Dept personnel are City Employees and represented by one of the City Employees unions.

    • Jay April 4, 2023 (11:42 am)

      I hate so much that I pay taxes for and live near a beautiful west-facing waterfront park, Alki and can’t even sit on the beach and enjoy the sunset on a nice summer day without cops yelling at me to get lost. That was actually a factor in moving away from that area and to Puget Ridge, it was so frustrating to live by a park I can’t use.

    • Kyle April 4, 2023 (1:19 pm)

      Oh good, looks like one sentence in a 15 year old document with the police union is why the Park Rangers are limited to only downtown…Good thing we don’t let bureaucracy get in the way of deploying these resources with thought to tackle today’s issues.

  • Buncake April 3, 2023 (11:01 pm)

    Some of these parks in Seattle need to be restored.. Park benches and picnic tables are falling apart and better lighting in dark areas.. And safe bathrooms there’s a lot of creeps and drug addiction around that lead to abuse of facilities.. Even alki the bathrooms are disgusting. We live in a decent city our taxes are too high to have this many cuts to public parks and facilities that deserve updates as it is.  How can the city be so unkind to the citizens by sheer neglect of responsibility of these public spaces that are frequented all year long.. It’s turning into a trash hole

    • The Earl April 4, 2023 (8:41 am)


  • K April 4, 2023 (8:45 am)

    Does anyone know what “bargaining constraints” actually means, in terms of West Seattle not getting any park rangers?   Genuinely asking.  It’s super annoying when political jargon is used instead of just being upfront and clear.  

    • WSB April 4, 2023 (8:55 am)

      What was said during the meeting is that there is some kind of contractual limitation to downtown-and-vicinity parks.

  • ParkLevy April 4, 2023 (9:27 am)

    What happened to the park levy that was passed and all the money??Doesn’t it cover this ??

    • WSB April 4, 2023 (10:20 am)

      This IS from the supplementary park funding – that’s what the Park District is. (Not a levy any more.)

  • Park feelings April 4, 2023 (1:27 pm)

    Would have much rather seen our taxes pay for maintenance and equipment improvements instead of park “enforcement” personnel. Harrell also has consistently chosen cops over community, so no surprises here.

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