City: Fresno Inn uninhabitable, residents ordered out

The Fresno BeeMay 7, 2014 

The city of Fresno has declared that a rundown central Fresno motel is uninhabitable after an inspection found open electrical boxes with live wires, busted water pipes and walls that collapsed between rooms.

A gas leak discovered on Wednesday was the last straw. City officials condemned the Fresno Inn property on North Parkway Drive, near Highway 99, and told residents it was time to move out.

"It's worse than we've ever seen it," said Elaine Robles-McGraw, the city's community revitalization manager.

Thirty-five rooms were occupied and an estimated 100 people lived at the motel, which has served as an apartment complex more than a highway stop for the night, Robles-McGraw said.

Five people were relocated on Tuesday and the rest were told to leave by the end of the day Wednesday so the two-story building could be boarded up. The city offered to house residents for a week at the Ashlan Inn, about three miles away.

Tenants have complained of unsafe living conditions at the motel for more than a year. Many are part of a lawsuit to get the motel owners to make repairs and solve a rodent and bug problem.

The property is owned by a Silicon Valley company, Casa de Campo LLC of Saratoga.

Robles-McGraw said the owner is a group of Los Angeles doctors. When contacted about the property one owner said they didn't have the "resources to do anything" with the property, she said.

"I said, 'what would you like me to tell your tenants,' and he said 'tell them whatever you want,' " Robles-McGraw said.

Penny Bier, her boyfriend, and daughter have lived at the motel for two years. Bier, who has epilepsy and is disabled, doesn't know where the family will live after the weeklong stay at the Ashlan Inn.

"I've stayed as long as I have because it's not easy to get a job or to save money when you're always sick," she said.

"If they had fixed this stuff two years ago there wouldn't be this problem."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6495, blee@fresnobee.com or @bonhialee on Twitter.

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