The city of Longview issued two fire code citations Monday to a South Longview motel and is considering court action to have it declared substandard, said Development Services Director Michael Shirley.
“We are going to be pursuing a case in (municipal) court for a substandard building,” Shirley said. He added the city judge may order repairs at the 121-room Express Inn at 3120 Estes Parkway or order it to be vacated, demolished or boarded up in 30 to 60 days.
A follow-up inspection Monday by city staff determined a number of rooms where people had been staying lacked appropriate smoke detectors or ones that did not function. He added the hotel management had not corrected a months-old violation of using a room to store equipment.
Bob Patel, who identified himself this past week as the manager of the hotel for 19 years, was unavailable for comment Monday.
Patel has faced warnings from the city since Feb. 28 when a letter from environmental compliance inspector Sabrina Graves cited a number of deficiencies and violations.
Among other things, she advised the management to hire a structural engineer to evaluate “failing structures” such as landings, elevated walkways, guardrails, roof supports and the foundation supporting them.
During a visit earlier this month by city staff, the hotel’s management was ordered to “voluntarily” vacate rooms that remained rented.
Shirley said he understood eight or nine rooms were still being rented as of Monday. He added the Express Inn does not have the amenities, such as a complete kitchen, that qualifies it to serve as an extended-stay hotel.
One guest who had been staying there for five months, Frances McCandless, said she and her husband, Terry, and two dogs moved out Friday after management told her Thursday that they had to leave by noon Saturday.
McCandless said the toilet was not fastened to the floor, and she got shocked when she touched the microwave with wet hands.
Referring to the management, McCandless said, “He was rude and his maid was very rude.”
She said she is staying in an another hotel and is paid up until the first week in August.