PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When the city of Portland began a homeless sweep along the Springwater Corridor, some people in the Lents neighborhood think it created a growing rat problem.
The homeless camps attracted a noticeable number of rats. Now, the rats are finding their way into neighborhoods.
Ryan Kramer, who lives in the area, said he saw rats “hanging in” a grapevine and jumping out.
Kramer said his garden is under siege by an army of rats that’s been dining on tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers that grow low to the grapes that grow above as well as full grown stalks of corn.
“We’ve caught between 10 to 12 over the last 2 weeks,” he told KOIN 6 News.
Chris Roberts with the Multnomah County Vector Control said it is “very rare for a rat to have rabies, so there’s not really that concern here.”
The best way to trap the rats, he said, is to take away whatever they’ve been eating.
“You make those rats hungry, you force them to take your bait or traps. You have a better chance of getting full control.”
Thomas Legg, who lives closer to the Springwater Trail than Kramer, said he’s never seen so many rats in the neighborhood and in his yard. The problem was worse around his house before the city cleaned up the camps.
“Sometimes they would run across the steps of my porch,” Legg told KOIN 6 News.
Now that the area is cleaned out, people further away — like Kramer — are concerned about the health impact.
“They tend to harbor disease and very germy and stuff,” he said. “There’s just so many of them and they’re hungry.”