Yesterday we wrote about the partial closure of the Ray’s Food Place in Hoopa over the weekend after health inspectors discovered a massive rat colony inside the store, with strong evidence of food contamination from feces, urine and other rodentine detritus. Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairperson Ryan Jackson called on locals to cease shopping at the Hoopa Ray’s for the time being. See the link above, if you missed it.

Last night C&K Market, Inc. — Ray’s Oregon-based corporate parent — issued a press release about the matter in “frequently asked questions” form. In it, they turn the tables on the tribe, faulting tribal government for failing to maintain the exterior building that houses the supermarket.

Press release from C&K Market, Inc.:

What is the status of Rays Food Place #4 in Hoopa Ca?

We have operated the Hoopa store location for over 40 years. Initially, we operated under a lease agreement that provided for an initial term of 15 years with a 5 year option to extend. We have since operated the location on a month‐to‐month basis for the past seven years. We would like to renew under a long‐term lease that would enable us to remodel the store and make capital improvements to the store itself.

Last week, we were informed by the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human services of their concern over a rodent problem at the store and surrounding area. We have since accelerated pest control efforts already in place for a more aggressive solution with a professional pest control company.

Are they still operating?

We are still operating the store, however, some food preparation and production has been suspended.

What’s the plan of action to fix the rodent problem?

We are working with a professional pest control company to resolve the problem, however, we are told that the exterior and roof of the building needs to be repaired and secured to prevent rodent access.

They have indicated that the main access point is the damaged roof which is the tribe’s responsibility.

Is Rays going to pull out from leasing?

We are currently month‐to‐month with our lease at the store. We would very much like to remain and have a long‐term lease agreement with the tribe and we would like to remodel the store as soon as possible.

Do you plan to continue to serve the community?

We plan on continuing to serve the Hoopa community for as long as we can. We do need the tribe’s help to resolve this issue in securing the exterior of the building, especially the roof.

Whose Responsibility is it to manage a rodent problem? Is there anything in your lease agreement about upkeep and cleanliness?

We continue to have monthly pest control service at store and we will fully address rodent issues as they come up. In addition, we have performed repairs periodically to the exterior of the store as temporary measures until the tribe can address the underlying issues. In the past, the tribe had a Plant Management representative check on the structure, however, that is no longer occurring.

The lease agreement requires us to maintain the interior of the store in order to operate a retail grocery location. The lease agreement also requires the tribe to maintain the exterior structure and roof of the store location. This is especially important in this case because we will not be able control a rodent population in the store if exterior access points remain for rodents to enter the building.

Are you going to work together with the tribe to solve the problem?

Yes, we want to work with the tribe to fully resolve this issue. We would like to meet with the tribal council to fully address all of the issues at hand and to manage a plan of action to solve these problems. We would also like to address a long‐term lease and work through a remodel at this location.

Was there any other issue that popped up with the Health Inspection that wasn’t put out to the public?

The Health Inspection also indicated that the roof was leaking in other areas of the store.

Is there anything you would like to add or put out to the public about the situation to let them know what is going on?

We just want to re‐iterate our commitment to the community and the tribal council specifically. However, we do need to work together on this issue and we are confident that we can resolve this effectively. We also would like to work through a long‐term lease agreement and remodel the store.