Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Picture is Worth a Million Words - and a Million Dollar Beach is Worth One Dog (UPDATED!!!)

Wow! Thanks again to Tyler for these hot-off-the-presses photos he just took today.
 
First up, the mattress in question. Here it is, at least a week since it was set out to...whatever...and it's still just sitting there.
 
 
Please note the time on the clock in the photo above. Tyler took all of these photos right around noon, on a pleasant, dry fall Saturday. Late in the season for tourists, perhaps, but still, not a bad day for anyone to be out and about, right?
 
Except that...There is no reason for anyone to be out and about in Port Angeles. Check out this photo from the middle of the road along the exciting (and expensive) new waterfront...
 
 
Watch out for all that traffic, Tyler!
 
Of course, maybe no one is on the road, because they're all at their destinations already. Yeah, that must be it. So, what destinations are there in downtown Port Angeles? Hmmm...Oh! I know! How about Nathan West's Million Dollar Sandtrap Bogus Beach?
 
 
Sorry about that, but, if you blow up that big picture of that big new beach, you might be able to see the...one person, and one dog, that are out there. The dog's off leash, which, in most circumstances, would make me worry about it running out into traffic, but...
 
 
...Here's the view down Front Street nearby. So I think the dog is probably safe.
 
But how safe is the economy of Port Angeles when things look like this? These photos look like a town that is afraid to go out. No one - no one at all - on the streets. What, do the Forks vampires come out in Port Angeles during the day? Is everyone at home under quarantine? Is Wal-Mart having a sale? What?
 
Or should I say how? How does a town of close to 20,000 people look so utterly deserted?
 
********UPDATE********
 
And here's a photo (taken by a Yelp reviewer) from the Holiday Lodge. The one word that recurs again and again in the reviews of the Holiday Lodge is "sketchy." Would YOU feel safe staying at a sketchy place with a chain lock like this?
 







55 comments:

  1. How do any businesses stay open with streets empty on a weekend, like this?

    Is there ANY accountability in this town, what-so-ever?

    Millions spent to improve things, and things are THIS bad?

    When is there going to be any consequences for all these bad decisions?

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  2. We just walked home after seeing a double feature at our downtown independent movie theater. On the walk home, on every block, be it commercial or residential, we passed people out walking around, even though it was spitting rain a bit. Some stores and restaurants were still open. There was life visible - at 11PM.

    Tyler's photos are all from right after 11AM. Downtown. On the day they have the farmer's market. There was no rain. And there were no people, no life visible.

    After HOW MANY MILLIONS spent on various "economic development" and "marketing" schemes?

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  3. While I hesitate to enter the bloodsport that is commenting on this blog Please note business shown are not open, with exception of motel... economic development is dependent on commensurate financial interest from private side. Public improvements Are only part of the picture, and their timing When attempting economic revitalization necessarily Precede Potential corresponding jump in traffic. I spent noon to 2 in couple pictures shown and Yes besides ferry traffic not much going on down there, besides dog walking. But then again the stretch of road is mainly Private parking lots, a dark pizza and brewpub, public park still being improved with no parking lot, and A hobby shop....the parking lots had usual ferry traffic at noon. I understand there is unending well of negative hyperbole with some legitimate critique as basis. I don't see the same energy put into active discussion in either council or commission meetings by public, nor do I get sense of some greater good than what City has done with park and sewer improvements. Granted one can argue cost/design, but attempts are in keeping with accepted professional practice. Its easy to be ugly with words from behind ones computer. volunteer for some City committee (Planning Commission short couple commissioners...) & try to make a real difference.

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    1. What odd language you use.

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    2. Dude, speakest thou English?

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    3. I spent more time trying to figure out the inconsistent capitalization than the content.

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    4. Perfect, a new writer for port o call.

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    5. Port O Call is accepting manuscripts from anyone willing to put their name to their work. Send one over or s t f u.

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    6. Excellent points and also, absolutely normal English. Not sure what that was about.

      There have been plenty of times that I couldn't find a parking spot across from the hobby shop and just about rear ended someone today who, desperately searching for parking, hit their brakes when they finally found one. It seems odd to see the streets so empty in the picture.

      About the new beach and waterfront development, I am in agreement with our blog author. That seems to me to be a stupid thing to spend so much money on when the very first people to use it on a regular basis, were heroin addicts!
      Councilwoman Cheri Kidd and Police Chief Terry Gallagher are headed off to Centralia and Chehalis to...???...do something regarding panhandling...not really sure what.
      Why? We need to handle the drug problem first.

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    7. @ Anon 4:52

      Umm, what drugs are you on? How out of touch with reality are you?

      Oh, that's right "Trolzac". I recognize the symptoms.

      Delete
  4. Dear Anon 6:28

    As you say : "Granted one can argue cost/design, but attempts are in keeping with accepted professional practice. ", I'll assume that you are (or where) a "professional" in some context, in municipal management.

    Without a lengthy diatribe, it is easy to see that it is this type of view that has gotten Port Angeles into the troubles it has. Yes, all these projects are or have been "accepted professional practice". But what has been lacking is the judgement.

    How does it make sense to spend millions on fake beaches there is no rational reason for building, when the city cannot police the drug problems it has, or provide shelter for it's most vulnerable? How does it make sense to spend tens of millions to tear up the city for years on end just to be able to turn rainwater into sewage?

    Yes, you are right. The city has no place providing money for private enterprise to, in this case, renovate the motels that keep getting bad reviews from visitors year after year. But, who issues the occupancy permits? Read the reviews of the recently "renovated" Holiday Lodge (the former Chinook) , that was given an occupancy permit by the City.

    You say " I understand there is unending well of negative hyperbole with some legitimate critique as basis." Again, I would point to this as an example of the institutionalized automatic defensiveness to any criticisms as why nothing gets done to address or correct problems. More time and energy is put into defending bad decisions, than trying to really solve problems. That history is easy to list.

    I took those pictures, and your defense that "Please note business shown are not open, with exception of motel... " is simply wrong. We're talking about downtown Port Angeles, midday Saturday! One shot is up Front Street, and has numerous open businesses on midday Saturday, besides being the location of the infamous multi-million dollar boondoggle "The Gateway Transit Center", hosting the Saturday "Port Angeles Farmers Market". But, the main street through town was empty.

    The Brewpub was open, at noon. None interested in lunch on the weekend, overlooking the waterfront promenade where millions have been spent on "economic development? While waiting to the ferry, arriving only 15 minutes from when that picture was taken? No one present.

    How about spending some time addressing what visitors experience when they come here, instead of creating headlines proclaiming " We're the BEST!"?What is the name of the City Committee or agency that annually inspects the area hotels and motels? Who is the main inspector? When does that Committee or agency meet? Who are the members? What are their enforcement powers?

    You can continue to write off those that criticize the City for it's poor judgement, but the visitors still go home with bad impressions of their visit to Port Angeles. Where are the responsibilities of those already in office, on staff, or sitting on Committees and Commissions?

    Tyler

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    1. So, I got curious after reading this post, and looked at the reviews for the Holiday Lodge on Yelp. Remember, this is the place the City touted as a “success story” of refurbishing a building and doing a “makeover” for a business.

      But the reviews (listed from oldest to more recnt) tell a different story:

      “In the bathroom, although the showers are large, I am pretty sure they are meant for children. I'm 5'9 and the shower head only reached below my shoulders. The hot and cold shower knobs were switched (cold was hot/hot was cold) which caused lots of confusion, the water would not go down the drain easily and the shower door would not shut. Only one knob worked on the sink. We called the toilet the throne because it sat high up on a step which was really strange. It also had grimey tiles and cracked walls. The door and lock seemed untrustworthy which made me feel even more uncomfortable. Hate to say this but the people staying there seemed pretty sketchy. We won't be going back.”

      And:

      “Staff seems weird and sketchy. We hated it and none of is felt clean or safe. Also.... When you go to their website, the office looks fancy so you think the rooms do too because they didn't post any pics of the actual rooms and shows pictures of a lake so it makes you think that you're gonna get a lake view. It's all a lie.”

      And:

      “Absolutely horrible terrible found blood splatter on blankets and they tried saying it was cranberry juice…”

      And:

      “I booked online and didn't think to check reviews before booking. When we drove up, there were sketchy looking people hanging outside a room. When we looked at the room, it was sad, to say the least. There was a cushy chair that was so stained I would never sit in it. The sink in the bathroom was chipped beyond repair. Everything cramped, dingy, and I don't think it was even possible to look clean, even if it was (???). My discomfort level was thru the roof.”

      And:

      “THE WORST PLACE EVER !!!”

      And:

      “This place is absolutely awful and is as sketchy as it looks. We were looking for a place to sleep for a few hours until we were to catch the ferry to Victoria the next day. We arrived pretty late and I was terrified to get out of the car. The people who run the place were very rude and didn't know anything about the area. The room was even worse, the smell, the noise....let's put it this way, we brought our own sheets and blankets which we laid down on top of their bedding. We lodged a chair under the door while we attempted to sleep. We wore shoes everywhere in that room. This place is not even worth the 1 star minimum rating.”

      Again, this place only operates because the City worked with the owners to get the place back into “habitable space,” and okayed everything. Does it sound like the City really checked anything???

      So, yes, while it’s up to individual business owners to decide whether or not to put time and money into their businesses, it’s very much the City that sets the standards for what is acceptable. The City sets the tone, the City enforces (or doesn’t) the codes. And it’s the City that sets the bar low – so very low. That is the problem.

      And since the City Council allows staff to set the bar so low – so very low – they are the problem. No amount of pretty language or lies can disguise that fact, that fatal fact.

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    2. Oh, and here's my favorite bit from a very recent review of the Red Lion:

      "When I was looking for the pen, that never showed up, I found dope paraphernalia in the night stand."

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    3. The Holiday Lodge is owned by the same people who own Willy's Smoke shop across the street.

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    4. If that's true (same owners), then that's all the context we need to have for a "fuller understanding" of the situation.

      "Scumbags are our business, and business is good!"

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    5. the reviews for the Holiday Lodge on Google Reviews are priceless. Uniformly one star ratings and endless complaints about the sketchy staff, broken fixtures, unclean rooms, soiled bedding and furniture and moldy bathrooms.

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    6. Yes, another example of the fine work done by our city staff.

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    7. The beaches... I can sort of see where they're coming from. It's no secret Port Angeles has harbor envy. Kidd said how depressing the difference between Victoria and Port Angeles is. And it's true. Railroad Ave and the Coho dock were... well, they were a little horrifying.

      I get it, but I don't agree with it. I think it have been handled in stages. Do some cheaper fixes first... Add more greenspace, fix the sidewalks and ODT, clean up where the esplanade is now, make a little park there and for the love of God pave the damn road! The first road many tourists drive on in Port Angeles is still the worst road in town.

      The major problem as I see it is that we're spending a lot of money for half the battle. Yes, it needed to be fixed up. But it also needs activities and people otherwise it's just wasting money. Think about what else Victoria harbor has... kayaking, food trucks, buskers, water taxis, art. Then right across the street is the Empress, the museum, parliament building... Shuttles, horse drawn carriages, flowers, topiary, shops. And people... Even proportionally it's nowhere near what we have.

      We need that stuff a lot more than beaches and a huge project. But, of course, we need Railroad improvements. Which is why I think incrementally would have been better.

      Well, too late now. I just hope, once the project is done, the city won't think "good 'nuff" and sit back to wonder why no one is enjoying their shiny new Railroad Ave.

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    8. If you are in "travel" mode, all packed up with visions of recreating in some nice spot, would you really settle for Port Angeles? Any part of it?

      Why sit on the new fake beaches, when Freshwater Bay or the Elwha Delta is only 1/2 hours more drive? Seriously. If I'm out to enjoy a nice afternoon on a beach, watching oil tankers get repaired, and log ships loaded up really is not appealing. If it were, Port Angeles would have enjoyed the benefits of industrial tourism/ vacationers years ago.

      I agree with you. It is about judgement. Creating a multi-million dollar waterfront promenade in a place with potentially beautiful views and settings can make sense. But any one could have known that the directly adjacent uses of log handling and ship repair are not considered "beautiful".

      In real estate, the long understood guideline for investment is "location, location, location". No real estate professional will ever advise you to pour big money into a property in a bad location. Youi will never get a return on your investment.

      But, city staff doesn't have to worry, because it isn't THEIR money they're spending, there is absolutely NO accountability, and NO expectation of any return on investment. They got money to pay for staff time to build it all, and that is called "creating your own job security".

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  5. If the hotels and motels won't spend the money to fix up their businesses, why should anyone else? They are showing us all they are not willing to invest in Port Angeles' future.

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    1. Cherie Kidd and city council have spent $4 million in the past decade to entice visitors to this???

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  6. Kudos to Cherie Kidd. Her multi million dollar waterfront extravaganza is the most popular spot for shooting up. Note the push pins in the map at the health department showing where they find discarded needles. Seems with this much concentration of needles we could concentrate a bit of law enforcement there and put an end to this. But of course Chief Gallagher has no time for cleaning up Port Angeles he is all about OPNET seizing properties for the sheriff's department. Luckily he will retire soon and maybe, just maybe we will get a top cop who gives a shit.

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    1. If she screeches one more time about that stupid waterfront....
      Get off it, woman. Find something else to lay claim to as your "accomplishment".

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    2. Don't they have camera coverage of that area? Can't they have someone monitor the cameras? Can't they find a cop to patrol that area? Maybe it is better to allow our $15 million waterfront become a "shooting gallery" rather than allow it to spread into the residential areas. Maybe if they could provide a free shooting gallery at the park next to the hospital. That way any overdose will be near medical care. Have to keep the kids out of course.

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    3. Those soccer-moms-turned-junkies need a nice place to do their drugs. They're tax-paying citizens!

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  7. We do have a major problem in the quality of the lodging properties in Port Angeles. There are only a few that meet any type of reasonable standard and this really holds back the tourism opportunities. There are tourism opportunities, and there is positive economic impact from tourism (it is not the only source of economic development, but tourism does contribute), however the quality of lodging stock is miserable. People have tried working with these substandard properties and it is no use, they don't care and won't even try to take care of the basics. But during the summer everything is booked all the time so I guess they make enough money, while leaving a horrible impression on visitors. This is a very depressing topic.

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    1. The Sportsman motel gets a four star rating on Yelp. Obviously someone cares about their property and reputation. Sadly, they are in the minority in this burg.

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    2. Community conscious volunteers should hold signs in front of sub-standard lodging properties warning people away from them in the summer months.

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    3. Well, firstly, the Sportsman Motel looks nice on the outside. Their courtyard isn't heavily landscaped, but it still is maintained and looks nice. Obviously some care has been spent on the motel. Their sign is also bright and inviting, in a bit of a retro way. (I really want the Flagstone to restore--not replace--their sign, and I was kind of pissed when the Chinook sign went down and that crap sign went up. Yeah, I'm into signs. Deal with it.)

      Here's another point... Of all the motels I believe that's the only one outside city limits.

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    4. The Chinook sign was pretty cool! I guess it got hauled off to the scrap yard.

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    5. We used to joke that they should just take a few letters off of the Chinook sign, making it either the IK or the OOK.

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  8. Remember the "official" photos of the recent "Arts & Draughts" thing? Remember what was surrounding the highly concentrated and enclosed event space? Empty streets. Just like the ones pictured here.

    The default setting for Port Angeles is empty and lifeless.

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    1. Time after time, regardless of the reason or time of year, we see the same thing. Empty streets.

      But, year after year, the leadership keeps doing the same thing, with no visible improvements. In fact, the situation is worse now, than before.

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    2. Actually the entire downtown was really busy during Arts & Draughts.

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    3. The aerial footage of downtown during A&D disproves your statement.

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    4. "Actually the entire downtown was really busy during Arts & Draughts."

      Who are you trying to convince? We saw the video. All of downtown was the same vacant ghost town it is in the pictures we see on this thread during that faux festival. Except right around the vendors themselves, of course.

      Get a clue. NO town can survive long with so few people out and about. This is a simple fact and reality.

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  9. So, who inspects these hotels?

    Really. Who inspects them? Ever?

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    1. Chains like the Red Lion have inspectors who visit the property once a year. The property is given a one week time frame when the inspection might occur, so they have some time to get everything in order. This is probably the only time the Red Lion bothers to maintain the property and keep it compliant with corporate standards.

      As RL is a national chain of motels they have district and regional managers. I would say that the regional and district managers for this part of Washington are not paying any attention to the PA Red Lion otherwise they'd be wanting to know what's going on and why and taking steps to correct the problem. Obviously, complaints never rise above the local management.

      As for places like the Holiday Lodge, they're on their own. Look at the Chinook - it stayed in business for years despite being an absolute rotten mess. It only closed because the health department stepped in.

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    2. "Obviously, complaints never rise above the local management."

      Hello?? The complaints are on the "World Wide Web", on sites that are specifically for tourists to evaluate would-be destinations.

      The management responds to most. Unfortunately, the responses are totally self-serving and unresponsive to the concerns posted.

      The motels DON'T care. A year ago, these same kinds of complaints were on globally accessed sites. No changes.


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    3. Yes, the complaints are on the world wide web for all to see. Yes, the management of the RL responds half-heartedly. Yes, the RL does NOT care.

      What I'm saying is that the regional and district management for the RL chain are either willfully ignorant of the pathetic state of the property or no one is skipping the property management and addressing their complaints to the regional or district management and so they're simply unaware.

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    4. Wouldn't you think the owners, being in the "hospitality business", would look at least ONCE in a year or so, to see what the reviews of their facilities are?

      I mean, I neither own any of these establishments, or patronize them, and I'm aware of the awful reviews.

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    5. You would certainly think so. You would think they'd want their place to look nice, be clean, repair broken fixtures, have a competent and friendly staff. You'd think they would take some pride in their establishment.

      Obviously they don't.

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    6. Well, why should there? Where else are people going to go? To the next crappy motel? Or maybe the crappy motel down the street?

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  10. Perhaps it is time to think ahead to plan for the next 50 years. In that time there is a very good chance that downtown PA will be replaced by uptown PA by necessity. Front St, Railroad, 1at street with all the waterfront port facilities will be swirling with sea water. Highway 101 from the east will be cut in a couple of places and who knows what Puget Sound and Seattle will be like. However, the tourist attractions will still be here, ONP, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent and lots of beaches. Upper PA should have a plaza- like center up around the college somewhere with hotels and travel and tourist services nearby. My favorite dream is to have light rail following basically the power lines back to upper Blyn through Snow Creek and over toward Bremerton to scoop up folks vacationing or just getting away from the mess in the I-5 area. I see plenty of folks migrating to this area because it would seem safer and more stable weatherwise than where they came from. Well, this is all pie-in-the-sky but you can be sure all the 1 star motels will be gone.

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    1. I see your point, somewhat, but....In a post-Peak Oil and climate changed world, I think it's equally possible that, as remote and removed as Port Angeles is from the world now, it will only be more so in 50 years.

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    2. As if in 50 years, people will be thinking about vacationing here. With the climate change impacts continuing, and the economic costs mounting, things are going to be quite different.

      But, most people don't want to think about that reality.

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    3. We're already in the middle of a mass migration to Washington State. Seattle's population is skyrocketing, Port Angeles's is slowly declining. (Same with the economies.) Tourists pass right through this town on the way to their destination.

      While creating a 50-year plan sounds like an excellent idea, I can't help but think of all the plans that have been made and thrown out over the last 50 years. Most recently the AIA suggestions which were sort of considered in a half-assed way and then forgotten.

      I'm afraid that for this town to really grow and prosper it needs a paradigm shift in attitude. A kind of rolling up our sleeves and getting shit done sort of attitude, and not the lackluster, bouncing-off-the-walls, all-in-it-for-me type of attitudes we've seen so much lately.

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    4. Even in 50 years, with the effects of climate change being undeniable, people will still want somewhat honest, competent leaders. People will still want schools that will teach their kids. People will, more than ever, want to live in cities and communities that are literally green, and oriented towards environmental sustainability.

      Does it look like Port Angeles is going to be competitive in ANY Of those areas anytime soon? Or any number of other important markers people will be looking for? No. Of course not.

      When people are looking to relocate, they'll see a city that, in the face of climate change and rising tides, spent millions to build a fake beach, and put a huge Turd Tank on their shoreline. And then they'll keep looking.

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  11. Again. Who inspects the hotels and motels in Port Angeles?

    Are we thinking that hotels and motels are an irrelevant element of the economy in Port Angeles? Not worth our attention? Not worthy of any kind of requirement for minimum standards to represent our town?

    The PDN had stories about the City urging people to vote on that silly on-line contest, but no effort to keep the hotels and motels to minimum standards of health and safety?

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    1. I'm guessing the Red Lion chain is satisfied with a barely three-star property. Otherwise, as has been pointed out before, they'd be cracking down and demanding an overhaul of a run down property.

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  12. I drove by the AirCrest earlier today on my way into town. Yep, that mattress is still there.

    Maybe we should start a pool? Bets on how long it will stay there? Been close to a week and a half so far, that we know of. (Could have been there a week before?)

    Can it make a month?

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    1. Let the betting begin! Will it make it to Thanksgiving? Christmas? A Happy New Year?

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  13. http://imgur.com/8rR0Eb2

    The local liquor store had a big going out of business sale over 2 weeks ago. There was hardly anything left on the shelves when I stopped in. The business owners were nice enough to leave the building plastered with those neon signs though. I wonder which will go first, the mattress at the Aircrest or the signs? Maybe someone could let Revitalize know about this stuff, they seem to love cleaning crap up.

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    1. Used mattresses - NOW 50% OFF!

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    2. Black mold - absolutely FREE!

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