Clark County Secures Hotel For Unhoused People Endangered By Coronavirus

By Troy Brynelson (OPB)
Vancouver, Wash. April 10, 2020 12:44 a.m.

UPDATE (1:03 p.m. PT) — A Vancouver location of the Motel 6 chain of hotels will provide the rooms, OPB has learned.

Clark County provided a contract to the news organization Friday morning. The contract will pay the hotel $60 per night through the end of June, for about $608,880.


The owner of the hotel could not be reached for comment.

After weeks of searching, Clark County has found 116 hotel rooms for unhoused people who come into contact with the novel coronavirus.

The rooms will be used to isolate people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as to quarantine others who may have been exposed.


“We can’t just leave people who are infected with COVID-19 on the streets with that illness, because if they’re sick, they could get worse, they could be in the emergency room, or they could be infecting other people,” said Vanessa Gaston, director of the county’s Community Services Department.

Related: As Oregonians Socially Distance, The Unhoused Community Comes Together

It’s unclear clear if any unhoused individuals have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Public health officials with the county have declined to release any information about positive tests other than genders and age ranges.

As of Thursday, 206 individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus in Clark County and 14 have died. Close to 500 people lack shelter in Clark County.

The identity of the hotel company renting space to the county is also unclear. Gaston said the hotel company did not want its identity disclosed. Despite signing a public contract, Gaston and senior management analyst Lynn Mueller declined to name the company.

“We are not sharing the location of the motel at this time,” Mueller wrote in an email, when asked to name the company.

OPB has submitted a public records request.

Renting the hotel ends a nearly three-week search. In March, the Washington Department of Commerce dispersed $30 million across the state to help prevent the spread of the virus among unsheltered populations. Clark County received $1.1 million.