State revokes Value Motel's license

Owner has until August 28 to contest the decision

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter


Updated: August 10, 2011, 7:48 PM



Previously: The Washington State Department of Health inspection revealed several deficiencies at the Value Motel. Owner Milton O. Brown claimed all deficiencies had been corrected.

What’s new: The state health department revoked the Value Motel’s operating license after a follow-up inspection revealed several violations had not been corrected.

What’s next: Brown has until Aug. 28 to contest the revocation or close the motel.

The Washington State Department of Health revoked the Value Motel’s operating license after a June 29 inspection revealed several public health and safety violations had not been corrected.

Under state law, Value Motel owner Milton O. Brown has 28 days from the Aug. 1 revocation date to request an “adjudicative proceeding” to contest the action, said Gordon MacCracken, state health department spokesman.

If Brown doesn’t make the request, he will no longer be able to legally operate the Hazel Dell motel.

The license revocation is the first in Clark County since at least 2006, MacCracken said.

“Records prior to that are archived and no one wants to speculate based on memory,” he said, “but it’s safe to say they’re few and far between.”

Brown did not respond to The Columbian’s request for comment.

Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt said Wednesday he had mixed feelings about the motel losing its license.

Boldt raised concerns in the past about vacant buildings on the property and tried unsuccessfully to contact Brown about cleaning up the buildings. Still, Boldt said he worries about having another vacant building in Clark County.

“If I had my way, it would be keep working on the Value Motel and get it up to standards, rather than have it sit empty,” Boldt said.

State health officials conducted a safety survey of the Value Motel on March 30 and later produced a 17-page report outlining dozens of deficiencies, including a rodent infestation. On June 27, Brown submitted a signed report to the state indicating that after 60 days of work, the motel’s deficiencies had been corrected.

On June 29, state health officials conducted a follow-up inspection, which revealed many deficiencies had not been corrected, MacCracken said.

The inspectors found carpets in rooms, hallways, stairwells and alcoves were stained and unsanitary, giving common areas an unpleasant odor. They found trash, food debris and a used hypodermic needle in stairwells and entries, MacCracken said.

Guest rooms had stained mattresses, dirty shower stalls, a cracked headboard, a missing towel bar, a broken window and broken wall heater louvers. Water in the guest rooms was measured at 125 degrees; it should be between 100 and 120 degrees, he said.

The state health department’s authority to revoke or suspend a hotel or motel’s license is limited to public health and safety issues, MacCracken said.

“I know there’s been concern in the community about the motel’s clientele and the nature of their activities, but our action was based on the risks to health — and on the fact that numerous problems weren’t corrected,” he wrote in an email.

Media reports about the condition of the motel prompted the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries to open its own investigation into the motel.

A health inspector and a safety inspector with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducted an inspection of the motel June 1. Both inspectors issued findings in reports released in July.

Labor and Industries levied $7,500 in fines against the motel last month. Brown has since appealed the violations and is seeking a reduction in the fine amount, said Hector Castro, spokesman for Labor and Industries.

A hearings officer will consider the appeal at a hearing Wednesday.

Marissa Harshman:;;; 360-735-4546.

Marissa Harshman:;;; 360-735-4546.