City officials: Last chance for crime-ridden motels on N. 1st Street

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima police and code enforcement officers inspected a Yakima hotel, room by room. The Yakima Inn is the first of 17 that will be under the microscope along North First Street. It's part of Yakima's plan to revamp the area's image.

"This hotel here has more crime than any hotel in the city," said Yakima Police Officer Rich Fowler to the Yakima Inn owners.

They are words of warning and fact. The Yakima Inn tops the list with more than 160 police calls in 2012. The Inn has had at least 30 so far this year.

"What we want to do is bring this to your attention," said Rich Fowler to the owners.

But, crime at the Inn is just one of the problems. There are code violations from electrical and wiring problems to conditions that are less than ideal for guests.

Officers spent several hours Tuesday inspecting each room.

"We will shut individual rooms down and notify the owners that this is what has to be done to correct it," said Yakima Code Enforcement Director Joe Caruso.

Caruso said the violations discovered aren't enough close it down, but there is lots of work that needs to be done.

"(According to) city standards, it's got some work to do," said Fowler.

However, some residents say the Inn has already made improvements.

"Looks pretty good out there compared to when I first got here," said Darryl Coolidge who has lived at the Yakima Inn for more than three years. "All the hookers are gone now."

A step in the right direction. A step that 17 hotels along North First Street will be forced to take.

Yakima says it's working with the property owners to clean up crime, fix code problems and beautify problem areas. The remaining 16 hotels will be inspected in the coming months.