Friendly rats? South Eugene neighborhood not alone, as city sees complaints double

Citywide, the City of Eugene has received 55 complaints this year about rats.

That's up from 25 for all of 2016. (File)

EUGENE, Ore. - Zyra Beevers lives in the Friendly neighborhood of South Eugene.

Beevers says she's only seen a rat once.

"It was very distinctive just because of the tail," Beevers said. "I always have squirrels up there constantly but that particular day it was very certain it was a rat."

But Beevers doesn't think there's a rat problem, as alleged in a recent letter to the editor of Eugene's local newspaper.

"In case people don’t know, there is a rat epidemic in the Friendly Street neighborhood and, no doubt, in other parts of Eugene," Sally Louise Smith wrote to The Register-Guard.

Beevers isn't so sure that's fair.

"This is a very nice neighborhood and everyone is very clean and well kept," Beevers said, "so I just have not seen that problem."

Some neighbors tell stories similar to Smith's, however.

A resident who asked not to be shown on camera said a neighbor had caught 10 rats.

Citywide, the City of Eugene has received 55 complaints this year about rats.

That's up from 25 for all of 2016.

Unfortunately, the rodents aren't something that can be avoided, according to Mike McFedan from Down to Earth Home and Garden.

"Here in the Willamette Valley we definitely have rodents that live in the landscape and there is not really a foolproof 100 percent way to keep them out because they are constantly coming from place to place," he said.

McFeden said there has been an increase in customers coming in to buy containers that lock, for both compost and animal feed.

"Having a secure container with a lid, having a plastic container or a metal container, it really helps to prevent your bird food from being stolen by rodents, and having those rodents multiply," he said.

The City of Eugene can't do anything on private property - but can address the issue if found in the city's sanitary sewer lines.

"If there are signs of rats we will bait the sanitary sewer lines, at that area as well as up and down of that particular man hole as well," Brian Richardson from public works explained.

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