Owners of Anchorage Motel and Pacific City Inn have filed a lawsuit against Tillamook County based on what they claim in the suit is a violation of civil rights due to being shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sam Mankins, owner of Anchorage Motel, said the county does not have the right to shut down business and that the county has discriminated against anything that could bring tourism.
Ross Day of Day Law, P.C., filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, May 13, on behalf of the hotel owners. The suit reads that Mankins and Jeff Williams, owner of Pacific City Inn, have been subjected to substantial restrictions by the county. Other counties are allowing lodging to open and operate with few or no restrictions.
For both the Anchorage Motel and the Pacific City Inn, the months of May through September generate enough revenue to allow both hotels to operate year-round, according to the suit. The Anchorage Motel typically employs one person through the slow months and two people during the busier summer months. The Pacific City Inn typically employs 7-10 people during winter and 15-20 people during the summer.
“As a direct result of the county’s actions, the Anchorage Motel was damaged in the amount of $40,000 or an amount to be proven at trial,” Day said in the suit. “The Pacific City Inn was damaged in the amount of $67,000 or an amount to be proven at trial.”
On March 14, the county declared a state of emergency within Tillamook County. On March 22, the county adopted a resolution to close lodging facilities.
“COVID-19 represents an unprecedented threat to public health the likes of which has not been seen in the past 100 years,” the board of commissioners wrote in a press release. “The severity of the threat to life, health and safety calls for extreme measures and immediate action.”
Commissioner Bill Baertlein responded to the Headlight’s request for a statement on the suit, stating that the county’s attorney has advised them not to comment.
The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday, May 13, to begin reopening privately owned transient and short-term lodging beginning Friday, May 29. All publicly owned lodging remains closed.