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Government

City, county sued over converting hotel to permanent housing

A former hotel with the signs removed.
Office of King County Executive Dow Constantine
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The former La Quinta Inn in Kirkland, Wash. The 121-room building was purchased by King County a permanent supportive housing site.

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — The City of Kirkland and King County are being sued over the county’s plan to convert a Kirkland hotel to a permanent supportive housing site for people experiencing long-term homelessness.

A group of Kirkland residents and parents whose children attend schools near La Quinta Inn & Suites allege in the lawsuit that city and county officials didn’t hold public meetings that were required before King County bought the site in March, The Seattle Times reported.

Because of that, the group says the decision to house the site at that location should be voided. Spokespeople for King County and the King County Council said attorneys are reviewing the lawsuit.

King County paid $28.1 million for the 121-room building, according to the Department of Community and Human Services, with money from a program financed by a 0.1-cent sales tax to buy lodging for housing.

In a statement, the City of Kirkland said city officials are confident all state and local laws were followed.

“Chronic homelessness is a societal problem that includes Kirkland,” the city said. “We are confident our community can help respond to this urgent problem while also protecting ... our children attending nearby schools.”

Leo Flor, director of the Department of Community and Human Services, said King County doesn’t hold public meetings until the county and seller have an agreed-upon price, to avoid the risk of the county paying too much.