Richland police respond to suspicious activity at vacant M Hotel

RICHLAND, Wash. -- A closed-down hotel in Richland is now attracting the concern of police. Officers have come to the former M Hotel on George Washington Way at least ten times this year. KEPR looked into why police are getting called to the now-vacant building and the concerns it's raising.

It's no question safety is a huge priority to Jamie Rizzo. She's a mother of four.

Jamie lives just a couple blocks from the former M Hotel on George Washington Way. She drives by it every day to bring her kids to the park.

Jamie was surprised when the hotel closed in the fall - and even more surprised it remains vacant almost six months later.

"It just has always been weird to me as I drive by," said Jamie.

Jamie sees cars go in and out. She's even seen random people hanging around that cause her to be uneasy.

"I've seen a lot more suspicious cars in the area and at night it just seems weird because it's all lit up. It's generally safe, but there is certain areas around here that are just a little weird," she said.

Ever since the hotel closed, a security guard has been stationed outside 24/7. But word has spread that the spot is vacant, and people show up looking for trouble.

Richland police tell KEPR they're not just responding to calls at the now-vacant M Hotel. But they're also checking in on their own time. They tell us they know what a playground for teens the building can become if they don't keep tabs on it.

Police have been called here almost once a week since the start of the year. Reports of suspicious people on the property, trying to break in. Someone else urinated on the building. And a couple more were drunk trying to stay the night.

"I can't imagine Rite-Aid is gonna be super excited to have that vacant building go downhill," said Jamie.

Police agree, which is why they will continue to make random check-ins to the M Hotel as its future remains unclear.

The hotel was foreclosed on when it shut down suddenly back in October. We never received calls back when we investigated the reasons at that time.