PORTLAND -- Rats have infested Schrunk Plaza, used nine months ago as part of the Occupy Portland protests in downtown Portland.
The rat problem is not new to the area, but the scale appears to have increased. KGW crews had no trouble finding as many as a half-dozen at a time scattered throughout Schrunk Plaza.
Multnomah County, which has a vector control section, can only offer advice to the city and federal agencies overseeing Lownsdale Square and the plaza.
"Occupy picked up and left, they left of their own volition they were cleared out," said county spokesman David Austin, "But these are rats. They don't pack suitcases like people. they are not in tents."
Mike Withy participated in the Occupy camps and has returned for a homeless protest across the plaza at city hall. He and other protesters alerted city officials several weeks ago, to no avail.
"They're trying to shift it on us and say we brought rats," he said, "and the fact of the matter, is they've been breeding for nine months. They should have known it and taken care of it."
The county recommends that its government peers hire an exterminator and several traps appeared to have been put in place on Wednesday.