MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Ballard Little League parents pushed to limit with encampments taking over ballfields

Mar 25, 2021, 2:38 PM | Updated: Mar 26, 2021, 11:00 am

Seattle homeless Ballard Commons park...

Seattle homelessness exploded. This photo was taken in October 2020, near Ballard Commons Park. (Jason Rantz/KTTH).

(Jason Rantz/KTTH)

After 68 years of existence, the Ballard Little League has reached a breaking point when it comes to homeless people taking up residence on the ballfields it is renting.

First of two Seattle homeless hotel shelters opens

Parents, coaches, and the league president told KIRO 7′s Dave Wagner that the city’s response is unacceptable.

“Now, within just the three weeks we’ve been practicing, we’ve now had four different incidents involving homeless at these fields,” said Ballard Little League President Steve Reich.

The league pays $27,000 to rent the fields for the year.

Parents and coaches said they’ve been confronted in the fields, dugouts, and bathrooms. One parent said her 10-year-old was threatened at the Ballard Community Center field.

“The problem is the unpredictability and the chaos of someone in that situation. They’re not mentally stable, and we don’t know what they could have done,” said Andrea Morrison, who’s a mother of one of the players.

Parents also said their 11- and 12-year-old girls watched an unconscious, naked man being wheeled off by paramedics.

“They found a naked gentleman outside his tent by the bathroom, and they brought him out on a stretcher and don’t know if he overdosed or passed away. But our children were exposed to it,” Reich said.

Morrison complained to the city of Seattle and said the safety of the children should be as high a priority as the homeless population.

The city’s homeless response team told Morrison: “The City suspended the removals of encampments except for extreme circumstances that pose significant risks to the public.”

“Frustration is mounting to the point where we have to speak out now because if our children can’t play baseball and softball in the summer in the public fields that are in their neighborhoods, then something is really, really wrong,” Reich said.

By Dave Wagner, KIRO 7 News

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Ballard Little League parents pushed to limit with encampments taking over ballfields