Nearly two weeks after the unannounced sale and attempted forced evictions of occupants renting rooms long-term at the OYO Hotel in Centralia, some of those residents remain uncertain of where they will move next amid the housing crisis.
Ross Hubbard, managing director of Centralia 86 LLC and new co-owner of the OYO, was sold the hotel under the impression that none of the rooms had been occupied long-term, he previously told The Chronicle. He and his partners plan to turn the hotel rooms into “permanent supportive housing.”
In the immediate aftermath of the sale, the previous owner, Sonny Parmar of Shivaji Investment LLC, attempted to illegally evict the tenants, some of whom had been renting rooms at the OYO for more than three years.
On Friday, Feb. 17, residents were first told they had two hours to vacate their rooms before then being told they had until Monday, Feb. 20 to get out. Eventually, Hubbard claims he found out what Parmar was attempting to do and announced he would allow residents to remain in their rooms at the OYO while they look for new housing options.
Hubbard has also been working with the Northwest Justice Project and the City of Centralia. As of Thursday morning, March 2, some had secured rooms at the nearby King Oscar Motel at a monthly rate of $1,400.
Residents were given a phone number of a manager by the name of Candice Nelson who would help them set up moving arrangements, according to notices posted on rooms that were still occupied.
Nelson told The Chronicle she is working with Hubbard and had 14 rooms reserved for remaining OYO residents. She said moving arrangements were paid for and only needed to be arranged.
“I will be out in Centralia to look at the properties and talk to the residents. We want to accommodate them as best we can. If someone is disabled, we want to make sure they have a first-floor room,” Nelson said.
Nelson, who lives in Steilacoom, told The Chronicle she plans on being at the OYO sometime Saturday morning.
This comes amid break-ins at both vacant and occupied rooms at the OYO Hotel that have remaining residents concerned for their own safety. Several vacant rooms have also become occupied by squatters.
When The Chronicle returned to talk to the remaining residents on Wednesday, a woman had locked herself in the laundry facility and needed to be removed by the Centralia Police Department.
“The new owners have a responsibility to keep you guys safe and maintain security here,” Salvation Army Captain Gin Pack told OYO residents on Wednesday.
The Northwest Justice Project has been working with the remaining residents to keep track of who had actually been living in the hotel prior to its sale and what rooms they are still in.
Additionally, The Chronicle has received reports from Pack that Parmar apparently moved some of the long-term OYO residents prior to the hotel’s sale to the Quality Inn right down the street. Parmar still owns the Quality Inn under Prem Centralia LLC.
A resident who moved from the OYO to the Quality Inn reached out to Pack on Facebook and informed her she paid $575 in rent to OYO Hotel staff, but that money wasn’t being credited toward the room at the Quality Inn.
The Chronicle is working to confirm this report. The OYO Hotel is located at 702 Harrison Ave., while the Quality Inn is located at 1003 Eckerson Road in Centralia.