The Aloha Motel opened in the early 1960s as one of the many traveler-focused businesses popping up along Highway 99. This AAA-approved motel boasted wonderful modern amenities including a 24-hour switchboard; Beautyrest mattresses; individual thermostats; and free coffee, TV, and radio.
Soon, Samish Way will bid farewell to this “Paradise of the Northwest”, which has become a mecca for crime and drugs. According to the Bellingham Herald, there were 153 police reports for the motel between October 2013 and October 2014, and 11 of the motel’s 28 rooms tested positive for methamphetamine contamination. These issues really became a concern for the community when a man was beat to death at the Aloha in 2013.
In October 2014, the city council voted to condemn the motel, and made a deal with the owners to purchase the property for $1.58 million. The city took official possession September 2, 2015.
A chain link fence and a security guard will soon keep watch over the property, which could be demolished as soon as October 2015. After the demolition, the city will accept ideas for redevelopment. The iconic neon sign will remain on the property, and if a use is not found for it in the redevelopment plans, it could go through surplus.