From baseball games to assault, safety concerns grow at Rainier Playfields

May 3, 2024, 4:50 PM

Photo: Kids play a baseball game at Rainier Playfields in Seattle....

Kids play in a baseball game at Rainier Playfields in Seattle. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

On any given weekend, hundreds of people and families gather at the Rainier Playfields in the Rainier Valley, in Seattle, to enjoy Little League Baseball games or just a beautiful Pacific Northwest Day.

However, over the years parents have had to contend with more than just the other team. They have to deal with people drunk, high on drugs or harassing volunteers. Some have even been assaulted.

The Rainier District Little League  (RDLL), which sanctions most Little League games at the park, said harassment and assaults of volunteers working at the snack shack have become untenable.

‘Under the abundance of caution, the snack shack will open no earlier than 1 hour after the first game starts and close down no later than 1 hour before the last game ends. We don’t want any RDLL volunteers working solo setting up or closing down when there is not ample RDLL community members present,” RDLL President Craig Hanela said in an email to parents.

The park has long hosted RDLL games. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has acknowledged the importance of the park. Major League Baseball helped fund improvements to the baseball fields. A new basketball court was installed a few years ago and the tennis courts host regular tournaments.

Other local crime: 2 more burglary suspects accused of targeting Asian, East Indian owners arrested

It is a popular gathering place on most days and families gather here from sunup to sundown.

However, most parents we spoke with admit, there are problems.

“When you see someone doing questionable things off in the corner, you see smoke come out or you see them kind of huddled away toward the bathrooms, or the darker corners of the area, there’s reason to be concerned,” Parent Nate Woods said.

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has increased patrols at the park, particularly in the evening and on the weekend, but the problems persist.

“I have been avoiding this park, even though it’s in front of my house and I have a kid, because there’s a lot of weird people, drunk or on drugs. I was there with my daughter and some drunk person was approaching us and staring at us, so we just left. Someone needs to do something,” Mother Aline Fernandez-Robinson said.

Some parents said SPD needs to do more to keep the bad elements out so good, positive, life-enriching things can continue to happen at the park without fear of being harassed or assaulted.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

KIRO Newsradio

Image: Tacos are displayed at a charity event in October 2017 in Culver City, California....

Steve Coogan

Are tacos and burritos sandwiches? KIRO hosts say no, but a judge says yes

An Indiana judge who declared that "tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches" has cleared the way for the opening of a new restaurant.

8 hours ago

Image: On May 17, 1980, Carolyn Driedger examines a piece of measuring equipment at Coldwater2, the...

Feliks Banel

‘We got a real gut punch from it:’ Scientist recalls deadly Mount St. Helens eruption

This weekend is the 44th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, a major event for those who remember it or know the history.

17 hours ago

Photo: Petpalooza in Auburn....

Paul Holden

Weekend roundup: Local music, art, pets and more!

The weekend is here and we have lots of activities going on! There will be music festivals, free health services, pups and more.

1 day ago

Photo: Pro-Palestinian protesters have set up an encampment at the UW campus....

Sam Campbell

Protesters at UW encampment harass, shine laser in eye of photojournalist

A FOX 13 photographer was harassed and had a laser shined in his eye while filming near the pro-Palestinian UW encampment this week.

1 day ago

news protests college campuses...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: We’re all a little sus but we can also do better

This week our son called me sus. It's short for suspect and it's Gen Alpha slang for shady. But I'm going to admit something.

1 day ago

Photo: UW Seattle students set up an autonomous Liberated Zone for a "Free Palestine." It features ...

Steve Coogan and Charlie Harger

Group agrees to disband UW encampment after reaching deal with administration

Protesters who had set up an encampment on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle say they're packing up and going home.

1 day ago

From baseball games to assault, safety concerns grow at Rainier Playfields