Two new park ranger positions created following public outcry earlier this year are nearly ready to begin patrols in Cal Anderson, increasing ranger presence in the park “50%” according to Seattle Parks Department officials.
Paid for with $150,000 from department “underspend,” the new ranger positions will add to the department’s pool of available rangers and will be focused on the Capitol Hill park and Pioneer Square’s Occidental Park. A Parks rep tells CHS rangers — who patrol in pairs and are not armed — will be in Cal Anderson seven days a week from 7 AM to 10 PM following a day of training on Thursday. The Cal Anderson ranger role will “monitor and attempt to prevent potential property damage and safety hazards” and “be willing to work outside in a variety of weather conditions, stand, walk, or bend for an extended period of time” and “regularly use a bike or pickup truck,” CHS reported after the city put out a call for candidates.
“The rangers will patrol in pairs, and the new rangers will start out being paired with an experienced ranger,” a Parks rep tells CHS. “The rangers will actively engage with park visitors, and the ranger supervisor will be in touch daily with the SPD watch sergeant to ensure immediate and ongoing communication.”
The start of the increased presence comes following another serious assault in the park in which a convicted rapist has been arrested for a sexual assault of a homeless woman inside Cal Anderson.
In a CHS survey, readers said increased patrols and better homeless programs were the most important solutions to making Cal Anderson safer. Only 38% of respondents thought rangers would help.