The Smokey Point Motor Inn on Sept. 21, 2021 in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Smokey Point Motor Inn on Sept. 21, 2021 in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Arlington motel to stay open despite crime concerns

Police responded to the Smokey Point Motor Inn over 300 times in 2020. In the first six months of this year, that was down to 62.

ARLINGTON — The city has abandoned its push to close the Smokey Point Motor Inn, acknowledging calls for police service have decreased.

In court filings for an injunction last year, the city attorney wrote that conditions at the motel just east of I-5 were a “public health hazard, the continued existence of which constitutes an immediate and emergency threat to the public health, safety and welfare of others.”

Nearby property owners reported vandalism, public urination and defecation as well as feeling intimidated and harassed by motel patrons. One manager at a local business said they had to repair the fence next to the inn six times in the span of a few months. A property manager reported having to hire someone to clean up needles daily.

In June of last year, Arlington police served the owners of the motel at 17329 Smokey Point Drive with a notice that the property was violating city code.

“Units within the building are being used for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, delivering, selling, storing, or giving away any controlled substance,” Chief Jonathan Ventura wrote in the notice.

The city said it tried to work with the owners, Sunlite Co., which bought the property for $5.5 million in 2020. But there was little improvement.

Officers were called to the motel 253 times between Jan. 1 and the end of August 2021; 332 times in 2020; and 373 times the year before, according to police. The calls were usually related to drug activity. On one day in August 2021, for example, police were called to the motel five times.

In an injunction filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, the city pushed to put the motel in the custody of the court and likely close it for a year.

But calls to the property have since decreased due, in part, to recent changes in state law and changes made by the motel’s owner, according to the city.

Through June of this year, police had only responded to 62 incidents in the motel. This is in line with other motels in the area, Ventura said in an email last week.

In court papers last month, city attorney Steven Peiffle noted “substantial staffing shortages” at the police department have affected the monitoring of the motel. And a state Supreme Court erasing the felony drug possession statute meant police were called to the motel less frequently. He also wrote that legislative reform restricting police pursuits has affected this, too.

“We determined the best course of action from a legal standpoint would be to dismiss the case and continue to monitor, to the extent feasible within the law, activity at the property,” Peiffle told The Daily Herald.

In a statement, the motel owner’s attorney E. Chan Lee called the lawsuit’s dismissal a testament to his client’s hard work. The secretary of state’s registry of businesses lists the owner of Sunlite as Angela Yun.

“No one is claiming that the work is done, but Mrs. Yun is continuing her efforts to improve the safety and quality of the Smokey Point Motor Inn and hopes to continue working collaboratively with the City to do so,” he said.

Lee said Yun didn’t know about the motel’s history of crime when she bought it in 2020. And “significant language barriers” hampered her ability to understand the situation.

“We as her attorneys are frankly proud of Mrs. Yun, who has risen to the challenge of fixing the issues she inherited from the previous owner and who is continuing to take proactive measures to stifle the occurrence of such issues going forward,” the attorney said. “Smokey Point Motor Inn is a proud and contributing member of the Arlington business community and hopes to be a pride of Arlington someday.”

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mountlake Terrace council taps planning commissioner for open seat

With five votes, Rory Paine-Donovan was affirmed to join the ranks of the Mountlake Terrace City Council.

CEO Amy King standing outside of a Pallet shelter. (Courtesy of Pallet)
After rapid rise, Everett’s Pallet hits milestone: 100 shelter villages

Temporary home manufacturer Pallet hires locals who have “experienced homelessness, substance abuse or the justice system.”

Locals from the group Safe Lynnwood gather in front of the Ryann Building on 196th Street SW to protest the opening of a methadone clinic in the building on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Despite controversy, Lynnwood opioid treatment center opens its doors

For weeks, protesters have objected to the center opening near Little League fields and a Boys and Girls Club.

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez speaks at his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Driver in fatal I-5 crash in Arlington gets 10 years

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez had a lengthy history with impaired driving. He pleaded guilty to killing Jason Vogan, 45.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Boil water advisory in effect for 75 Snohomish homes

A water main break resulted in outages and possible contamination Sunday. Service was expected to return by Wednesday.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

The final 747 is revealed during a celebration in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. The plane was rolled out Dec. 6 from the Everett assembly factory and delivered to the customer, Atlas Air. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Still jaw-dropping’: Last Boeing 747 takes the stage in Everett

Thousands, including actor John Travolta, gathered at Boeing’s Everett factory to bid goodbye to the “Queen of the Skies.”

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Lobbyist barred from WA Capitol after ruling he stalked representative

State Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, obtained a domestic violence protective order against longtime lobbyist Cody Arledge.

Most Read