The Toledo City Council is considering whether or not to put a lien against the Yaquina Bay Hotel after previously shutting down the building and evacuating all occupants due to multiple fire code violations discovered during a Jan. 14 inspection.
During a regular council meeting held March 2, the council discussed placing the lien on the property both to force the abatement of issues there, but also to potentially recoup losses to the city incurred while shutting it down, such as the price to pay a private security firm to perform a fire watch on the building. The total costs the city could seek were listed as $39,416.
William Fig spoke as an attorney representing Alivelim Holdings, which received a court judgment in November to have the property returned to it after the former owner, Dustin Johnston, was unable to fulfill his purchase agreement.
Fig said Alivelim was looking to sell the hotel again to another new owner and may end up disputing some of the items in the liens, noting that while the city is entitled to recoup its losses, it may not have the right to add every expense incurred by the former owner through a lien. Fig argued Alivelim may be entitled to some recompense of its own, as several of the hotel’s doors were reportedly damaged by Toledo law enforcement officers during the eviction process.
Toledo City Attorney Michael Adams agreed the doors need to be discussed, but rebutted Fig’s assessment that many of the expenses wouldn’t qualify for a lien, citing very broad language when it comes to what does and doesn’t qualify.
Toledo Mayor Rod Cross ultimately asked the council to return to this item at a later date after it had time to look at some precedents set by other Oregon cities. Cross didn’t let Alivelim off the hook, however, arguing it was more responsible for the current situation than it let on.
“If you took possession of this building on Nov. 21 and did absolutely nothing for the next six weeks in regards to that building, I have an extremely hard time being sympathetic to your cause,” Cross said. “If I owned the building, I would have went and checked it out and, if I had to evict the previous owner, I have that done and wouldn’t have waited for the city to take care of a building that you own.
“This whole situation stinks to me, every part of it does,” Cross continued. “It stinks to me that we had to put people up in shelters because they had no place else to go. It stinks to me that we have to fight over money when people’s lives were in danger in the middle of winter. It stinks to me that you could have seen this building long before we had to do this and actually done some things about it. That’s my public statement, and I will stay by it until the end. I am not pleased.”
Around 30 people were evicted from the hotel on Jan. 31, with the city offering hotel vouchers, transportation and other support to those who needed it. Some residents interviewed by the News-Times had no plan on where to go afterward or expressed concern about their neighbors, some of whom were elderly or living on fixed incomes.
Other notable items from the meeting:
• The council discussed what to do with three incoming windfalls of funding the city will soon receive, around $1.6 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds and the sale of two city properties. The council pitched ideas, but ultimately decided to discuss it further at a future meeting.
• The council approved a letter of intent and contract with Sustainable Renewable Energy Utility Systems, a company looking to bring a wastewater recycling system that converts waste into energy to Toledo. The company also expressed interest in making Toledo a manufacturing site for its product.”