McMenamins Sunnyside’s landlord is suing Clackamas County in an attempt to stop a transitional housing facility from taking over a 100-room hotel.
County commissioners voted on Feb. 16 to purchase the Quality Inn using grants from the state and the Oregon Community Foundation. On March 10, Springfield-based landlord 205 Sunnyside LLC filed the lawsuit in Clackamas County Circuit Court, saying that a 1988 deed restriction would prevent something like a transitional housing facility from operating next to the restaurant property.
A spokesperson for McMenamins said that the restaurant and brewpub chain is not taking a position on the dispute initiated by the landlord.
Both parties in the lawsuit agree that an appraisal conducted by the Oregon Community Foundation and the county, as part of their due diligence process, concluded there were no adverse easements or restrictions that would prevent the conversion of the Quality Inn Hotel to emergency shelter housing for the homeless. But an attorney for 205 Sunnyside LLC said that the 1988 deed restriction would qualify the proposed homeless shelter as a violation of the restaurant property’s “harmony” clause.
“A conversion of the Quality Inn Hotel to emergency shelter housing for the homeless will be out of harmony with the restaurant,” wrote the landlord’s attorney Greg Hathaway in the lawsuit.
Hathaway sees addressing homelessness as a critically important issue. But in this location, he said, there’s a contract between the Quality Inn and the neighboring shopping center to protect from uses that could adversely affect those properties.
“We’re all supportive of efforts to transition people into permanent housing that falls within legally allowed uses and is considerate of its impacts on neighboring properties and businesses,” he said.
Clackamas County Public Information Officer Kimberly Webb noted that the county, with its Sunnyside Health Center adjacent to both the restaurant and Quality Inn, is one of the plaintiff’s largest tenants.
“We want to be good neighbors, just as we are good tenants. Ahead of the Board of County Commissioners vote on Feb. 16, the county met with the out-of-town plaintiffs on multiple occasions and offered to enter in a good neighbor agreement. Unfortunately, the plaintiffs have been unresponsive in engaging with the county. Our legal team is aggressively defending against the meritless claims,” Webb said.
County commissioners were aware of potential deed restrictions prior to their vote to acquire the Quality Inn. Hathaway appreciated that the county recognizes a good neighbor agreement as an important part of these endeavors.
“But establishing such an agreement is different than substantiating compliance” with the contract and deed restriction, he said. “As they have rushed toward acquisition and conversion, the only option left for the plaintiffs was to file the complaint.”