ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Justice has fined a Roseburg Motel $31,000 for price gouging evacuee victims when they fled from the Archie Creek Fire.
Evacuees staying at the Days Inn on Garden Valley Boulevard claim the motel was charging them nearly $300 a night when the fire broke out last September.
Idleyld Trading Post owner and manager Trinity Barney told KEZI 9 News that she was one of the first people to notice something was off.
“I reminded (the owner) that this is Roseburg, Oregon and this is a Days Inn right off the highway and that $283 a night was a lot,” said Barney.
When the evacuations started, she went to the Days Inn to get rooms for some of her employees that had nowhere else to go. However, she said she was shocked by the prices they were asking them to pay.
"I was then informed that was their prices, there was nothing they could do, they weren't allowed to change that,” she said.
With little in their pockets, Barney said they paid the motel what they wanted because they had nowhere else to go.
“I had people crying, people are in the lobby not knowing where to go,” she said. “They didn’t know if the animals they left were there or alive.”
KEZI 9 News reached out to owner Devon Kumar for further comment. He said he didn’t know what we were talking about and declined an interview.
However, according to court documents Kumar agreed to pay more than $5,000 to the state for the next six months get the fine paid in full.
If he fails to make a payment, he will be charged an extra $25,000 for each violation.
The documents also state that Kumar has already paid nearly $5,000 in refunds for 31 evacuees who stayed at the Days Inn, including some of Barney’s employees.
However, Barney said she hopes Kumar learned his lesson.
“I think it’s a tough lesson learned but I hope it’s a lesson that sticks,” she said.