Everett City Council votes to condemn motel despite community pushback
Aug 3, 2023, 7:35 AM | Updated: 10:30 am
(Photo from KIRO 7)
The Everett City Council decided in a 5-1 vote to condemn a “long-time troubled” motel known as a magnet for drugs and crime.
The city council voted Wednesday night to buy and tear down the motel despite an emphasis from new managers who have been cleaning the place up. Residents hoped new management would be given a chance to keep the place open.
Michael Gillham has lived a stone’s throw away from the property for the past five years. Like other parents living nearby, Gillham expressed concern over criminal activity linked to the property.
“I think the best step is to condemn it,” said Gillham. “I don’t know what to do with the property, but I would not want it as a hotel anymore.”
Manager Emily Simpson had hoped to buy the long-embattled property, fix it up, and turn it into a residence known for community rather than crime.
In a recent 14-month stretch, Everett Police responded to more than 230 emergency calls there, but Simpson told councilmembers crime reports have dropped since she took over in March.
People living in and near the Waits Motel told the council they saw positive changes when new management took over in March. Dozens of people testified at the council meeting, many in favor of the changes made by Simpson and in support of her plans.
“Where are we all going to go?” one resident asked. “A majority of us that use this as our residence are on a fixed income.”
“We don’t have the police there anymore, we don’t have the drug abuse, they have cleaned up the property,” another resident exclaimed. “It’s not like it used to be, it is not a nuisance to the city anymore.”
The 5-to-1 vote to condemn means residents will get assistance finding new homes. The only person that voted against it was Councilmember Liz Vogeli. Both Mayor Cassie Franklin and Everett City Council Vice President Judy Tuohy were absent from the meeting.
The city says there will be new plans to turn the land where the motel currently sits into some sort of new housing.
Council member Ben Zarlingo says the city has a strategy in place to assist.
“I’m confident that we will find good locations for those that call that place their home, and we’ve asked for continuous updates, and it is something that we will address,” Zarlingo said.
Lisa Brooks contributed to this report