Interstate 5 commuters used to seeing the aging red and yellow signs promoting a $21 stay at the Value Motel may have noticed new, more modern signs — and a room price increase — for the Hazel Dell motel.
Earlier this summer, the Value Motel’s owner began sprucing up the motel’s appearance by replacing the old signs, which had chipped paint and missing letters, with new white and black signs. The red arrows of the old signs still point visitors toward the motel office.
County Commissioner Marc Boldt said after three or four conversations, motel owner Milton O. Brown got to work replacing the outdated signs.
“One of the main things was the wrong costs,” Boldt said.
The old signs advertised room rates of $21 and $23. The new sign offers rooms for $39.
The improvements at the motel apparently aren’t limited to the outside.
During a recent visit to the motel, Boldt noticed that the old mattresses in the rooms had been replaced, as had much of the carpet.
The motel was fined and had its business license revoked last year for “serious” health and safety violations.
The state dropped formal action in January after the motel was cleaned up to its satisfaction.
Brown didn’t respond to The Columbian’s request for comment, nor did Haresh and Smita Patel, who operate the motel.
Boldt has been encouraging Brown for months to improve the curb appeal of the Value Motel property. The signs, he said, were a start.
In June 2011, Boldt said he wanted to see the county condemn and demolish two of the motel’s run-down, one-story buildings along Highway 99, east of the two operational buildings. The buildings’ rooms, with boarded up windows and doors, are not rented.
Since then, Boldt said, the buildings have been cleared for demolition, and Brown indicated he will voluntarily tear them down. Boldt hopes to see the buildings leveled this fall.
Another area of the complex in need of improvement: the corner of Highway 99 and 78th Street.
Overgrown blackberry bushes consume the northern wall of Bob’s Rentals, exposing travelers passing through the busy intersection to the eyesore. Trash litters the ground beneath the bushes, which line the parking lot of Icehouse Bar and Grill.
“It looks like a dump,” Boldt said.
Boldt said he’s working with the owners of both establishments to try and clean up the area. He’s been successful in getting a small patch of grass at the corner mowed regularly, putting an end to overgrown grass and weeds.
This fall, the county is planning a meeting between Hazel Dell business owners and county staff. The goal is to foster relationships in order to spruce up the corner, Boldt said.
“Someday, I hope it will be a little more pleasant,” he said.