Mayor Dana Ralph announced on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 that the City of Kent and King County have come to terms on an agreement on the future of King County’s COVID-19 isolation and quarantine facility located at 1233 Central Ave N. (map below) in Kent.
As many of our Readers may recall, in early March, King County announced it had purchased the Econolodge Motel, which it converted into a coronavirus quarantine shelter. The city said it had not been consulted or notified – at all – by the county. Reports of converting the quarantine facility into a homeless shelter once the pandemic passed was also discussed.
This created quite an uproar at the city, and a lawsuit was filed against the county.
This week, both parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) whereby the City agrees to dismiss its lawsuit against the County in exchange for the County’s commitment to use the facility only for COVID-19 purposes. The County also agrees to follow the City’s zoning laws and obtain City permits as soon as the governor-proclaimed state of emergency ends.
Previously, Mayor Dana Ralph directed the Kent City Attorney to initiate legal action to attempt to protect residents and businesses by insisting that King County comply with local zoning and land use laws and act as a better community partner.
“I believe it is the obligation of both the City and the County to provide necessary resources to the public during any sort of crisis. But we also have an obligation as government to be good neighbors. That means openly and honestly communicating with residents and businesses. I, along with residents and businesses, was surprised to find out this facility was coming to Kent without any communication or partnership from the County. We must work together for the public safety of residents and patients. I am pleased King County agreed to work with us on a path forward,” said Mayor Dana Ralph.
Some of the terms and conditions to which the parties agreed upon include:
- The site can only currently be used as a temporary and emergency quarantine and isolation facility for COVID-19;
- The County will cease its temporary and emergency use of the COVID-19 quarantine and isolation facility when the Governor rescinds his proclaimed state of emergency, unless the City and County agree otherwise;
- The County must obtain any required permits or land use approvals from the City for any continued or changed use of the property after the Governor’s state of emergency ends for King County;
- The County must provide security on site 24 hours per day and 7 days per week;
- The County must provide meals, services, supplies and counseling to all patients at the
- The County must submit its current operational plan to the City and provide updated
copies as they are produced;
- The County must comply with all building and fire codes as dictated by City code;
- The County will work in good faith with the City to address negative impacts any future
use of the property may have on Kent residents and businesses;
The Mayor is still insistent that King County should sell the property as soon as the COVID-19 emergency is over. This is a valuable gateway to Kent and should remain a valuable commercial property contributing to Kent’s local economy.
Read our previous coverage of this issue here.