Yakima Starting to Crackdown on Local Motels - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Starting to Crackdown on Local Motels

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Yakima officials are cracking down on more than a dozen motels in one of the city's most notorious areas, North First Street.

It's a renewed emphasis by the city to clean up a lot of the illicit activity and dangerous conditions at local motels, with the hope of revitalization the N. First Street corridor.

And the first motel on their list, the Yakima Inn. A place police say they respond to more than any other in the city.  

"I feel comfortable here. I feel safe here because the cameras and stuff they have outside," said Yakima Inn resident, Darryl Coolidge.

Coolidge has lived at the Yakima Inn for the last three and a half years. He says over that time things have gotten a lot better at the motel, but admits there is still a good amount of police activity.

In fact, just last year police say they were called to the motel over 160 times.

"There's several that are high up there. This just happens to be one of the highest, if not the highest in the city," said Officer Rich Fowler with YPD.

The high number of 911 calls violates the city's nuisance ordinance and prompted Tuesday's raid that included several city and state code inspectors.

The crackdown is the first of 17 raids just like it that will happen at various other motels on or around North First Street. An attempt by the city to force owners to clean up, or shut down.

"This is a lot of first impressions for people coming into Yakima. It's an area that needs some work," said Code Administration Manager Joe Caruso.

Caruso said they only found minor violations at the Yakima Inn, a positive start to the cleanup effort.

As for the excessive police calls, Officer Fowler says they'll work with the owner to try and fix that problem before they take further action. Something the motel owner says is a welcomed offer.

And good news for Darryl, who, for now, will be able to stay in his home.

16 other Yakima motels will have similar raids in the coming months.

The Yakima Inn's owner says he was happy to open his doors to the city and hopes the other motels will start cleanup efforts too, so they can attract more guests and visitors to North First Street.