Problem isn’t Arlington motel, it’s nearby drug use

Though born in Washington state I am a resident of Arizona, but I still spend the nice spring and summer months in Washington, staying at the Smokey Point Motor Inn of Arlington.

This is my third year here at the motel and I find the statements from the Arlington City administration in the recent Herald article to be full of hyperbole, when not factually incorrect (“Arlington wants to close motel, center of ‘criminal activity,’” The Herald, Sept. 26). I do not know the current owners, but I do know who they are. I can attest things have changed, much. I see the owners at 1 a.m. checking the parking lot for vagrants, limiting visitors to guest rooms, checking non-registered vehicles, expelling those loitering on the property in a sincere and conscientious effort to limit any possible shenanigans. The number of reported officer “calls” to the motel seems highly exaggerated as in the three summers I have stayed I have never seen anyone leave in handcuffs, only aid-related calls, welfare checks and the occasional guest who decides to overstay without paying, I have never felt afraid here.

What hasn’t changed is the city’s allowance of a vagrant and homeless population to congregate on the same block as the motel at the Community Transit bus station. A stroll after dark by the station, a walk that does feel threatening, reveals transients, three to four deep in each bay, smoking meth, fentanyl, and who knows what else. Then they walk around the block aimlessly, through the motel’s parking lot, in a daze, urinating in the bushes, littering and harassing those of us who obey the law. Coupled with the state-enacted eviction moratorium that equally applied to motel guests after a stay of 14 days, motel management is in a no-win situation despite their concerted efforts.

I believe the public would be much better served if the city took a good look in the mirror and addressed the real reasons for the crime and drug use on this block rather than taking an intellectually lazy approach to the issues by blaming the motel management who by your own reporting has invested heavily in this community.

Steve Carlson


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