Owner: Problems at Value Motel fixed

State Department of Health must still verify letter’s claims

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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The owner of Hazel Dell’s Value Motel reports the dozens of deficiencies identified by the state health department have been corrected.

Milton O. Brown submitted on Monday a signed report to the Washington State Department of Health indicating that after 60 days of work, the motel’s issues have been addressed.

The next step is an unannounced inspection of the motel by the state health department, said Gordon MacCracken, a spokesman for the department. The outcome of the case depends on what inspectors find during their visit, he said.

Possible outcomes include the motel being allowed to keep its license and operate as is, civil fines and suspension, or the revocation of its operating license, MacCracken said. Without a license, the motel cannot legally continue to operate.

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 at the motel.

The safety survey included the inspection of the main laundry room, pool, hot tub, electrical panels, common areas, stairwells, hallways, water heaters, the exterior of the building and 23 unoccupied rooms.

Officials reported finding grimy, oily and unsanitary bedspreads; mattresses and bedsheets stained with urine, feces and blood; and walls discolored by grimy smears, food splash and “other organic debris.”

In addition, officials found accumulations of rat or mice feces indicating an infestation. Stairwells were littered with trash, food debris and hypodermic needles, according to the report.

The state gave Brown until May 25 to take corrective action. The state later granted Brown’s request for an additional 30 days. Time ran out Monday.

Last month, a local Value Motel task force headed by Keith Kilian, a Clark County Sheriff’s Office commander, made recommendations to improve security at the motel and “make their business practices more palatable for the community,” Kilian said.

After meeting with Brown and Haresh Patel, who leases the motel, Kilian said the pair gave no indication they intended to implement any of the suggestions.

“We tried to engage them into the process, and they’re pretty much content or set upon their current clientele base, which is conflict with the neighboring businesses in Hazel Dell,” Kilian said earlier this month.

Brown did not respond to Columbian interview requests.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546 or marissa.harshman@columbian.com.