Since the OYO Hotel in Centralia was abruptly sold just over a month ago, many of those who had rented rooms long-term — some for more than three years — have moved out, but not everyone has been able to find a new residence and are still stuck living at the OYO.
For those who remain, the building’s new co-owner Ross Hubbard, managing director of Centralia 86 LLC, has presented them with a settlement agreement that was created in partnership with the Northwest Justice Project.
As a non-disclosure agreement is part of the settlement, its exact details are unknown but, based on previous conversations with residents, the deal appears to involve a room for several months at the King Oscar Motel.
The Chronicle reached out to the Fearey Agency, a public relations firm representing Hubbard, for more details regarding the settlement. As of Monday morning, no comment was given.
While residents still at the OYO consider the settlement this week, another persisting issue they’re facing appears to be getting worse: Squatters are breaking in.
With word spreading about the majority of the rooms being vacant and there being no permanent security presence, people have been breaking in every night. Some are breaking in to sleep, some to shower, some to simply use the laundry facilities. Regardless of their intentions, those still at the OYO now fear for their safety.
One of the remaining residents, seasonal construction worker Quincy Burton, has taken it upon himself to be de facto security and check rooms on a nightly basis.
“There’s people getting high, fighting each other. This one dude beat up a chick right in the hallway here, and when the cops came he took off running with the damn baby,” Burton said.
Thieves have broken in and stolen all of the hotel’s wifi routers, leaving the residents without internet, too.
“It just keeps getting worse here, I hope I get approved for this house so I can get up out of here soon,” Burton said.
Burton worries for the safety of both himself and his 14-year-old daughter who lives with him. He said he wishes the new owners would hire private security to prevent the break-ins from occurring.
“It seems like these people don’t give two sh-ts, they don’t care at all. But they’re gonna care when somebody ends up getting hurt or killed around here, then it’s gonna look bad on them,” he said.
As for the OYO Hotel, Hubbard and business partner Zachary Winner of Absaroka North LLC, plan to renovate and convert the hotel into permanent supportive housing.
According to Washington state law, permanent supportive housing is defined as subsidized, leased housing with no limit on lease-length. It’s meant to prioritize helping people who need support services to remain housed, such as those with disabilities.
Permanent supportive housing is also designed to lower barriers to tenancy entry, especially those related to rental history, criminal history and personal behaviors, while still falling under the rights outlined in Washington’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.
The OYO’s previous owner, Sonny Parmar of Shivaji Investment LLC, still owns the Quality Inn less than a half mile away from the OYO on Eckerson Road.
Hubbard claimed he and Parmar toured the hotel and inspected every room before the purchase, as previously reported by The Chronicle.
Parmar was adamant none of the guests were renting rooms on a long-term basis, according to Hubbard.
Despite Parmar’s claim, residents were being charged between $1,500 and $1,800 a month per room and some had lived at the hotel for more than three years at the time of the sale last month. The sale occurred on Feb. 13 according to the Lewis County Parcels website.
Parmar has yet to respond to The Chronicle’s request for comment.