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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Red Lion Hotels parent company closing Spokane office

UPDATED: Tue., April 7, 2020

This photo from October 2018 shows the former Red Lion River Inn, which is now owned by Ruby Hospitality. Red Lion is suing a Florida financier, alleging he’s responsible for covering legal damages tied to expansion into properties owned by competitor Radisson. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
This photo from October 2018 shows the former Red Lion River Inn, which is now owned by Ruby Hospitality. Red Lion is suing a Florida financier, alleging he’s responsible for covering legal damages tied to expansion into properties owned by competitor Radisson. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Denver-based RLH Corp., the parent company of Red Lion Hotels, announced closure of its Spokane office as part of the company’s series of “organizational changes and cost-cutting measures” that began last year.

“The increasing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted the board of directors and management to accelerate our cost reduction program,” Carter Pate, board chairman of RLH Corp., said in a statement. “The changes include a reduction in workforce, executive, staff and board compensation reductions, closing the Spokane office and the suspension of non-essential (capital expenditure) programs.”

The company promoted Paul Moerner to chief accounting officer and Nate Troup to chief financial officer, replacing Julie Shiflett, who is departing the company to pursue other interests, according to a company release.

RLH Corp. is reducing its corporate workforce by 40% to about 100 full-time employees, according to the release. The company did not respond to requests for comment on how many Spokane-based employees would be affected by the workforce reductions.

RLH Corp.’s board of directors has suspended the company’s search for a permanent CEO, a position vacant since the resignation last year of Greg Mount.

In addition to RLH Corp.’s decision to close its Spokane office, the company subleased its surplus office space in Denver, according to a company release.

RLH Corp., which franchises hotels in the U.S. and Canada under the Red Lion brand, moved its corporate headquarters from Spokane to Denver in 2017.

The company was founded in Spokane in 1976 when Don Barbieri of Goodale & Barbieri partnered with Burlington Northern Railroad to build a hotel on the north bank of the Spokane River.

That hotel was the first in a chain that became Cavanaughs Hospitality Corp. The company merged with Seattle-based WestCoast Hotels in 2000 and later purchased Red Lion Hotels from Hilton Hotels and Resorts. It assumed the name of RLH Corp. in 2005.

Barbieri retired as chairman of the board in late 2012.

RLH Corp. sold subsidiaries, TicketsWest and WestCoast Entertainment, to Irvine-based Paciolan in 2017.

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