OGDEN — The two final inhabitants of The Courtyard Inn were planning to sleep outside for a while Friday night.
Both blamed Ogden city officials for sending them and their fellow renters at 455 25th St. out onto the streets before they had much chance to make arrangements for themselves and their property.
“The cops wanted us out at 3 o’clock and said if we’re not out, they’d get us for trespassing,” said Shawnee Wilcox, who stood next to a pile of her belongings on the curb at 6 p.m.
She said police had visited the motel earlier that day.
Wilcox was not wearing a coat. Many of her things were packed in pillow cases and open boxes.
Wilcox said she was upset thinking about a blind woman and families with children who had left earlier. She said the blind woman wasn’t going to be able to go to the homeless shelter because there was no staff there who could help her.
Wilcox said she’d called friends to come and get her things to store them temporarily at Budget Inn. But an hour after the sun had gone down, no one had shown up.
“I guess I’m going to have to take a shopping cart,” she said.
The people she knew at Budget Inn had children, Wilcox said, so she wouldn’t be asking to stay there herself.
The evacuation was the result of a Dec. 2 hearing in Ogden at which the motel’s business license was revoked. Officials cited increasing crime rates at the business and two sting operations in which undercover police were allowed to rent rooms at a cheaper rate when they said they had business with prostitutes.
The action might have been the first like it ever in the state.
And even though the motel’s business license was revoked a week earlier, the two renters said no one informed them they would be forced to evacuate. They said they had less than 24 hours of notice, which came only when news-gathering crews showed up on the property Thursday afternoon.
“They don’t realize we have a whole lot of homeless and they just put out that many more,” Wilcox said.
She noted that $33-a-night rent was difficult for her and her fellow renters to come up with each day. She said many of them were former felons.
“We’ve made mistakes and paid our time to society,” she said. “How can we be part of society when we’re cast out? ... I don’t see how they expect us to go get a job and get an apartment.”
Wilcox said she and her roommate had worked as maids at the motel.
Also standing on the curb with his things, Zack Carter said being thrown out of the motel was just one in a long list of setbacks for him.
He went to prison for burglary for two years, and then when he got out, in March, he started moving back and forth between motels.
He’d stayed at The Courtyard for two weeks.
Carter and his dad, Rawlin Gellatly, who had been staying with him for a few days, were planning to camp out in a tent with a propane heater on Ogden municipal property Friday night.
“What’s happened to me throughout my life, this is nothing,” Gellatly said. “I’ve been stepped on all my life.”
But Gellatly said he didn’t understand why authorities would not provide prior notice of the eviction.
“They gave no notice whatsoever. What kind of people are they? What kind of shoes are they wearing?”