Umatilla County notified the owner of the derelict Rodeo City Inn to clean up and secure the place or expect to start paying fines.
Western Hotels & Properties, a limited-liability company in El Centro, California, bought the former hotel a few miles west of Pendleton in 2014 for $379,000, after the county shut it down due to concerns over crime. County counsel Doug Olsen in June reported the owner informed him crews would clean up the property and get it ready to re-open as a hotel.
Yet the hotel remains today much like it has for the past few years — deteriorating and wide open to anyone who dares take shelter in its square, barren rooms. While the appearance is horrid, the building itself seems sound and signs point to a bit of clean-up.
Old boxes from single-serving microwave meals and other trash fill one plastic container in a room on the building’s first floor. Rubbish fills a few other containers. Someone removed carpet from most rooms on the bottom floor, but they also lack windows and air conditioners. The exterior metal stairs are too dangerous to climb.
Olsen said he has no idea if Western Hotels & Properties removed the carpet and picked up any trash, but the site is a mess and not secure. The county’s code enforcement department determined it meets the criteria of a dangerous building.
Olsen on Oct. 6 sent Western Hotels the dangerous building notice via certified mail and someone signed for it, he said. That same day, code enforcement tacked notices to one end of the building and near the front entrance.
“Basically, (it’s) a notice giving them the opportunity to address the violations,” Olsen explained.
So far, no one has.
This is the county’s first use of its new dangerous building law, which the board of commissioners approved June 28, in part to deal with the Rodeo City Inn. The local law allows 60 days to secure a building and six months “to remedy the dangerous conditions,” Olsen said.
“If we take it to court it would be a $1,000 fine,” he said, “and $500 per week until it’s brought up to compliance.”
Olsen said he has been dealing with Suresh “Kris” Krishnan of Western Hotels. The East Oregonian reached Krishnan on Facebook, but he did not respond to messages by deadline Tuesday.
Olsen said he certainly hopes Western Hotels comes through on its plans for the old hotel. County records show the company has not paid any property taxes for the site and owes $15,828, including $5,934 for 2017-18.