As reported in last week’s McKinleyville Press, the Green Valley Motel in Orick was recently served with two notices to vacate by the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health. Two buildings, including the motel’s front office, have been deemed unfit due to leaking roofs, falling roof tiles, and electrical problems, according to Supervising Environmental Health Specialist Kevin Metcalf. The motel was also cited for not having working smoke detectors in every unit.
In all 12 people are being displaced from the motel, which typically rents to tenants on a month-to-month basis. Six people are being forced to vacate the office complex, which contains the office living quarters and four rental units, and another six tenants are being forced to vacate “the bunkhouse,” an unpermitted living quarters.
The notices, which were delivered on Feb. 25, are the result of county inspections based on tenant complaints. According to Metcalf there have been 40 complaints about the motel since 1995. He also said that because the buildings have been served with notices to vacate, any future repairs will need to be approved through the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department.
Former motel manager Rebecca Cox says the bunkhouse and office living quarters are still occupied, despite the dangers, because the tenants have no place else to go. She also says the motel has a cockroach problem that spraying doesn’t help, and she says the spray used often makes people feel sick. She said residents often complain about bad plumbing, rodents, mold, and utilities being shut off. The landlord is responsible for utilities such as power and cable. Cox says she resigned as motel manager the day the notices were served because she was tired of the problems not being addressed. “It’s the worst that it’s ever been,” she said.
Neither owner Ravindra “David” Kushwaha, nor District manager Paul Hewitt could be reached for comment through their business address at Eureka’s Budget Motel. The Budget Motel is also owned by Kushwaha, along with other properties throughout the country. In a Times-Standard interview last year, Hewitt said the complaints were driven by tenants who were upset over being evicted. The Budget Motel has also had tenants complain of cockroaches, mold, and bad plumbing, among other things.
Jim Hagood, who owns Hagood’s Hardware across the street from the Green Valley Motel, says his grandfather built the motel in the 1920s, and he has watched it transform from a motel and pumping station during the logging boom into its present condition. He says the motel has provided plenty of entertainment over the years. While Cox says there aren’t many drug problems anymore, there are sometimes fights between tenants. Hagood says when the cops are called, “we just sit back and watch the show.”