Rat infestation at low-income apartment complex in Everett

EVERETT, Laundry. —
Ratholes pierced the ground and flies covered the outside of John-Wessley Biggs’ apartment building.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “I feel lower than dirt.”

Biggs and his family were homeless before moving into the Family Tree low-income apartment complex 18 months ago.

The problems started in May when an old roller skating rink was demolished about a quarter of a mile away, sending rats scrambling to find new homes.

Biggs said: “Many times I took my 5-year-old daughter to the laundry and she accidentally stepped on a rat. “Just a few weeks ago I accidentally kicked one in my truck. In the summer you can’t go out without covering your nose and mouth because of the stench.”

Now that winter has arrived, the rats climb into cars, nest under the hoods, chew on electrical wires and leave a disgusting mess behind.

At one point, Biggs brought his car into the shop to work.

“They didn’t even touch the hood of my car. They said there was so much rat droppings and urine down there that it jeopardized safety,” he said.

Biggs, a plumber’s apprentice, worries about unexpected expenses if a rat nibbles on electrical wires or hoses.

“Having an unexpected expense like that can get in the way of me and make it impossible for me to even pay the rent,” he said.

Family Tree management says they have set up more than 70 traps and have exterminators come in every week, but pests continue to plague their property.

The Snohomish County Health District has been out three times since August.

An email from the county’s state board is “on top” of the matter and it’s “not a situation to be ignored.”

Carly Zellers, an environmental health expert from Snohomish County wrote, “What you guys are doing is exactly what we expect here in the Health District.”

Family Tree has also reached out to Everett Code Enforcement for help but that has yet to come.

As Biggs continues to count the holes, he says his rent has been increased to $375 a month.

My home doesn’t feel quite as comfortable anymore.

“I just want to move. I don’t want to live like this anymore,” he said. “We were promised this was a beautiful, wonderful place. So far it’s been a living nightmare.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/everett/rat-infestation-low-income-apartment-complex/281-cee3d4cd-8972-46d7-8abf-87c54a787aad Rat infestation at low-income apartment complex in Everett

Edmund DeMarche

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