Lynnwood city, schools may partner on homeless housing

The Lynnwood City Council is looking at a loan to finance a property purchase.

The Rodeo Inn is on Highway 99 in Lynnwood. (Snohomish County property records)

The Rodeo Inn is on Highway 99 in Lynnwood. (Snohomish County property records)

LYNNWOOD — The city of Lynnwood may buy a local motel to turn it into homeless housing.

A purchase agreement is pending for the Rodeo Inn at 20707 Highway 99. The idea is to work with the Edmonds School District to house families with children who are students, according to a recent briefing memo to the City Council. A similar effort is under way in the Everett School District.

Many of the details in Lynnwood have not been determined, such as how the tenants would be selected, said Julie Moore, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office. The intent is to provide support within the city’s goals of addressing affordable housing and homelessness, she said.

The council on Monday is supposed to review a proposed ordinance for a bank bond of up to $5.1 million. That’s expected to cover the $4 million purchase price, with some left over in case of any needed renovations.

The Rodeo Inn, with 52 rooms, has been a registered business since 1998. The property covers less than an acre, and the 2019 assessed valued was $3.5 million.

The city has received grants to support the project: $400,000 from Snohomish County Human Services and $100,000 grant from Affordable Housing Alliance, Moore said. There will be additional opportunities for grants and sponsorships, she said.

The Rodeo Inn is well-known to the city’s police and firefighters as a frequent source of 911 calls.

“There have been numerous discussions on what to do about this,” Moore said. “Our legal team researched the condemnation process, but we have never officially filed anything … However, it was a topic of discussion with the current property owner.”

Some in town, including councilmembers, have questioned why the proposal wasn’t made public sooner. That issue is expected to generate some conversation at Monday’s meeting.

The purchase agreement included a 60-day period for a building assessment and other work. That is expected to wrap up April 1, at which point the sale could become final.

The Edmonds School District, which includes Lynnwood, serves more than 500 families who are experiencing homelessness, a description that includes living in motels, vehicles and “doubling up” with family or friends.

The school board in October wrote a letter in support of the motel plan.

Transitional housing can help students do better academically and with their social and emotional development, the board said.

“The impact of the project will be tremendous,” the letter said.

Monday’s meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

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