Rats invade Portland street; neighbors fed up

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Rats are invading a Northeast Portland street. People who live there blame a neighbor for the rodents they claim are bigger than their cats.

"They parade up and down. It's reckless abandonment. They do whatever they want. And they're huge," said Seneca Alexander.

Alexander lives on Northeast 75th Avenue off of Northeast Killingsworth Street. He recently discovered rats had gotten into his garage and gnawed on some of his personal belongings.

"I cannot believe that they're even here. There's no food in here at all," Alexander explained.

Alexander believes the rats that got into his garage are the same rats that live in a shrub directly across the street from his house. Another neighbor told KATU News he's counted 20 rats out at one time.

"At night they gather and it's like a block party," he said, "Some will even run from their bush and run back, and run and run back, and then the big ones don't even care. They sit there and grub."

Alexander is worried that a rat might bite him, his 10-year old son, his girlfriend, or someone else who lives on the street.

"Rabies is no joke," Alexander said.

Alexander blames a neighbor for feeding the rats with dog food-sized bags of birdseed, which the neighbor dumps in his own driveway a few times every week.

"I think they need to stop feeding the birds. I believe you can feed the birds but you're supposed to be doing it in a bird feeder, not in a smorgasbord," Alexander explained.

KATU News reporter Hillary Lake spoke to the wife of the man who puts out the birdseed. She requested that KATU not identify her.

She acknowledged both she, and her husband are aware of the rat problem, and that the birdseed attracts the rats. However, she said she believes the rats used to live in a nearby rock quarry that is now a grassy field.

She said the rats moved to the next place where they could hide when the quarry closed, which is the bushes next to her house. She also said she has an "environmentally friendly way to exterminate the rats." That involves plaster of paris, half-and-half, and water; it's a method she discovered on the internet. She said she plans to try it in the coming weeks.

Until that happens, Alexander is on guard.

"They're like their own little gang. When I killed the one and they pulled him back in there it was like 'Saving Private Ryan' or something," Alexander explained.

But, he's also careful. Some of those rats are as big as his cat, Mr. Magoo.

"I keep him inside. Man they would take him back in there and probably hog tie him and eat him," Alexander said.

KATU contacted the city about any complaints about rats on Northeast 75th Avenue. We haven't heard back yet. We will update this story as more information becomes available.