Snohomish County says meth contamination won’t delay Edmonds housing facility

Dec 17, 2022, 8:19 AM | Updated: 11:05 am

meth contamination...

Americas Best Value Inn on Highway 99

An Edmonds hotel purchased by Snohomish County for a future housing facility for those experiencing homelessness is being cleaned due to meth contamination.

This process has the Americas Best Value Inn on Highway 99 temporarily shut down, as the entire interior needs to undergo a cleanup.

The county took ownership of the hotel 11 days ago after purchasing it for about $9 million with American Rescue Act funds. Snohomish County Executive Director Ken Klein said the contamination happened when the hotel was still under its previous ownership. Because of this, the previous owner will pay the cost of the cleanup.

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The county found the contamination during routine testing that happened as part of the purchase process.

“As part of that due diligence before we closed, we found that there were methamphetamine levels in most of the rooms,” Klein said.

He said it is unclear whether the people who contaminated the rooms were paying guests at the hotel, people who had been staying there with housing vouchers, or both.

“They were guests — that’s all that we can say for sure, is that they were guests,” he said. “The levels did not indicate that there was the manufacturing of meth, only usage … Based on the amount of rooms being contaminated, it was likely all guests, and not necessarily those who had vouchers.”

All along, the county had planned on the hotel closing during the transfer of ownership, as the building is transformed into a “bridge” housing facility. This facility will include rehabilitation services, on-site security, and rules against drug use. The county originally planned to open this facility in the spring of next year, and Klein said it is still on track to do that.

“This isn’t a delay because mostly, this whole process of negotiating it and finding this information took place during the closing process,” Klein said, adding, “Everything is going according to plan, as of right now.”

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He said the county expected that any hotel it purchased might have to be de-contaminated; county leaders still opted to go the hotel route because it was easier than building a new facility from scratch.

“We had our eyes wide open to know that there would likely be contamination. We obviously didn’t know how much, but we did have it as a likelihood that we would have to do something,” Klein said. “And as we worked with the seller, they knew that it would be their responsibility to clean up anything before we took possession … It was an assumption from the very beginning that there would be some contamination found, so what we wanted, more importantly, was to have a building that we could easily clean up and make available. To purchase a hotel is much cheaper than finding property and building new.”

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