Rodents causing concern for some Wilsonville neighbors
The neighborhoods in northwest Wilsonville exemplify the term buttoned-down. With meticulously planned private and communal spaces and mandatory yard maintenance in the Villebois neighborhood, it seems an unlikely location for a rodent infestation.
However, according to a few residents, the rodent population is booming — and moving into homes.
"We caught one last night," Park at Maryfield resident Kimberly Nelson said. "My dog started barking in the middle of the night and I heard a clatter in the garage. It was running around with the trap attached. Horrible. It was half the size of my cat."
More than 30 residents throughout northwest Wilsonville have taken to social media to share their own experiences with similar refrains: large, black rats have appeared out of seemingly nowhere in great numbers within the last year.
In Nelson's opinion, Villebois and the Park at Maryfield are suffering from a full-on rat infestation.
"Big black rats are appearing in people's garages and homes everywhere. I saw two in our garage this week and we have never had a rat problem before. The Villebois Homeowners Association had a meeting about it and it's been discussed on the Facebook page the 'Villebois Hood' with tips on what people should be doing to keep these rats from breeding and taking over more of the neighborhoods."
Annie Lynch, another Park at Maryfield resident, has also had her own run-ins with unwanted rodent visitors.
"It's pretty shocking and disgusting," Lynch said. "My son heard some rattling around and peeked over toward the kitchen and he saw two big, fat rats running across the floor and then go under our stove."
Lynch said that she assumes the rats got into the house through the family's previously unsecured dog door. But she said that besides her son spotting them, there isn't any evidence such as droppings or damage.
After talking to her neighbors, Lynch called the City of Wilsonville looking for some advice on how to get rid of the rats and keep them from coming back. She said the City suggested she contact Clackamas County vector control.
"(The City) said that the county could come out and assess the situation."
However, according to its website, Clackamas County "does not have resources to provide residents assistance with rodent problems" and recommends seeking advice from a pest control service.
A representative from the pest control company Terminix said that they weren't aware of elevated levels of rodents in the Villebois area.
Although this issue is now coming to a head, Patrick Baker of Morey's Landing in south Wilsonville posted online this spring about a problem at his house.
"Last year, I walked into the garage, turned the light on and saw something skitter," Baker wrote May 24 on the Nextdoor website. "I set mice traps with peanut butter. I ended up catching 27 mice. I still have the traps set, but have not seen or caught any since. It's been over a year."
Wilsonville Public Works Director Delora Kerber said that she hasn't heard of any spikes in the rodent population throughout town, but she does recommend keeping trash and animal food — including birdseed — sealed away since both draw rodents.
Lynch said that her neighborhood has had good luck with electric traps, but as with Nelson, she's cautious about using traditional snapping traps because of the sheer size of the rats. For those who want to lure the rats into traps, many recommend using peanut butter. But some residents are getting more creative.
According to Lynch, one neighbor had his tomatoes eaten all summer.
"When he finally realized that it was rats that were eating them, he put traps down, but those rats wouldn't go for the usual peanut butter," she said, "but when he put tomatoes in the traps, he started catching them."
At this point, there doesn't seem to be a wide-scale solution to the problem other than the basics of keeping homes and yards clean and free of any loose food (included uncovered compost) and pet droppings. But residents are still looking for answers.
"We have a really nice, clean house and our whole neighborhood is very well-kept with nice houses and clean families, so it's a head-scratcher," Lynch said. "It seems like the little suckers are still everywhere."