New gate coming to Snoqualmie Community Park as neighbors ask for police help to curb illicit activities

New gates are currently being installed at the entrance to the main Snoqualmie Community Park parking lot on Ridge Street. The gate will close the lot to cars during overnight hours.

For some residents living along Curtis Ave – which borders the large park and its popular Kite Hill area – the new gate is a welcome addition. They hope it will help curb illicit activities occurring at the park, especially at night.

Michelle Pfeffer, whose home backs to the Kite Hill and Bog area, said issues involving pre-teens and teens have been ongoing during the nearly two decades she’s lived next to the park. Since the skatepark opened and Covid hit, though, she said things have gotten worse.

Pfeffer said in late July she and her neighbors reported [12] gun shots fired at the park. She said it happened around 10:30PM and resulted in her family fearfully crawling along the floor of their home until the shots stopped.

Police were called and a helicopter also circled the park with a spotlight. Pfeffer said family members witnessed people running from the park and exiting on the path next to her home, leaving in a white sedan.

Other activities witnessed by Curtis Ave neighbors include drinking and smoking; a group of boys carrying a presumed ‘passed out’ teen girl into the woods; sex in hammocks strung between the trees on Kite Hill; drug dealing; parking lot car racing; and fights.

Another Curtis Ave resident, Keli Jones, said, “The behavior in the community park has become increasing concerning. I personally have witnessed alcohol/drug use and dealings, high speed driving in the parking lot, motorcycle riding all over the park, and trash and broken glass left in the park. I believe the community needs to know what is going on and what the City of Snoqualmie is doing about it.”

Things got so bad this summer that in early August, a group of neighbors met with Snoqualmie Police Outreach Officer Nigel Draveling to request new park safety and security measures.

That is where the request for a parking lot gate was posed by Pfeffer and her neighbors, along with requests for low-level lights and security cameras within the large park.

That first request for the gate is currently in the works and should be functional later this week, according to Snoqualmie Parks and Public Works Director Brian Krause.

New gate posts installed at Snoqualmie Community Park parking lot entrance on Ridge Street.

Krause explained, “Gate posts have been set so concrete can cure for a week. This is necessary due to the heavy weight of the gate. The gate arms are planned to be installed at the end of this week. 

He said the Parks Department is also refreshing park rules and hours signs.  The new signs will be posted on the soon-to-be installed Ridge Street gate, as well as the other park entrances, by the end of the week.

Krause added, “We are working the Police Department, reviewing other safety measures, including cameras and lighting changes. These items are a work in progress and specific details are not yet known.”

Mayor Larson commented, “We are still looking into the efficacy of other measures such as cameras and lighting.”

Examples of New Park Signs:

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  • When are we going to move on from fences/walls/barriers as the answer for illicit behavior or behavior we don’t approve of? Barriers don’t stop people from doing things – they just find a new place to do it. Especially teens. At the heart of all of this is that teenagers are doing things teenagers have done for millenia. Driving too fast? Smoking pot, drinking and having sex after hours in a park? Leaving a trail of garbage in their wake? Teenagers are biologically wired to do these things. Adults (who apparently forget that they were once teenagers) have been complaining about it for all of history and will complain about it until human’s last days on earth. A gate/wall/barrier isn’t going to stop it. The only thing it is going to do is be another reminder that even in one of the safest (and most educated) cities in the country people feel the need to erect gates/walls/barriers and think it is the antidote to underlying issues.

  • I’m glad there’s a gate going up. Gates are very strong, and young people won’t be able to break through it because it has a lot of cement and metal. And cement and metal are very strong and not even a group of 10 kids could break through this much cement and metal. I do see that kids could go around the gate. And that might be a problem. I will have to think about that more.

    If I could make a recommendation for the rules. It is always good to make rule #1 be that “all rules must be obeyed.” Because, if you don’t have that rule, then nobody knows if the rules are the kind of rules you can ignore or if they are the kind of rules that must be obeyed.

    So, my advise is, make sure everyone knows the rules must be obeyed, AND to use cement and metal for the gate. I will think about what to do if kids decide to go around the gate AND not follow the rules. Mostly kids respect gates AND follow rules, so I think the mayor and city council have a fool-proof plan here. Just like all the other plans they make.

    My prediction is that if nobody decides to go around the gate AND if they decide to follow the rules, then we won’t have any problems here.

  • Yup, teens doing what they do, and we were all teens. A gate is a terrible idea and will do nothing to curb the activity. Instead, I ask: where are the police officers riding their bikes and walking the trails around the bog and parks, being one with the community? Where are regular police patrols around parks that are closed after dusk? Our police could use more community engagement and “walk / bike their beat”. Earn trust and respect, and perhaps that will rub off on more teens?

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