Under gloomy skies, contractors demolish the sad remains of the Blue Heron Motel. | Shane Mizer.

Press release from the City of Eureka:

Today, in response to ongoing complaints and concerns regarding the safety of the vacant, unsecured building formerly used as the Blue Heron Motel, the City of Eureka exercised its summary abatement authority to begin demolition of the structure. The site, which was the location of a structure fire last week, is owned by Floyd and Betty Squires and is part of a lawsuit filed against the Squireses by the City in 2011.

Earlier this month, staff from the City’s Code Enforcement Division and Police Department, as well as Humboldt Bay Fire, executed inspection warrants at 11 properties owned by the Squireses, including the Blue Heron. During that inspection, numerous and significant violations of local and state health, safety, and building codes were documented, including significant structural deficiencies, booby traps, piles of trash in and around both structures, and evidence that both had been routinely occupied. Drug paraphernalia, including used hypodermic needles, were found throughout both buildings.

Today’s abatement action was only necessary because of the negligence and mismanagement on the part of the property owners.

Because of the violations found during the inspections, the City has determined that the conditions at the site and the structure itself are immediately dangerous as defined in the Eureka Municipal Code (EMC). Pursuant to the EMC, the City further determined it necessary to demolish the structure to protect the public and first responders from the significant hazards present at the site. This point was further reinforced after last week’s structure fire, where individuals who had freely entered the building were able to set it on fire. Given the same conditions in the remaining structure, the City was concerned that similar incidents could place members of the public and first responders, including police and fire personnel, at risk of injury or death.

Today’s abatement action was only necessary because of the negligence and mismanagement on the part of the property owners. The property has been part of a receivership that has been under the oversight of court-appointed receiver, Jeff Smith. However, the numerous and continued violations at the property have not been addressed. The City takes its responsibility for ensuring the safety of its citizens seriously and, under the circumstances, determined that it had to act aggressively in order to protect the health and safety of the community as well as first-responders. Costs for the demolition will be billed to the Squireses and pursued for collection.

According to City Manager Greg Sparks, “The City of Eureka is committed to pursuing either the rehabilitation or removal of blighted, dangerous structures in our community. The Blue Heron Motel was not worthy of rehabilitation and we look forward to a cleared site that can be re-developed for commercial use in the near future.”