11 Jul 2011

Rats Teeming Around 7-Eleven at 8th and Maryland NE

Originally Uploaded to flickr by CelesteH

Neighbors around the intersection of 8th Street and Maryland Avenue NE say they are being forced inside this summer because of a rat problem that appears to stem from unsanitary practices at the 7-Eleven on that corner. David Holmes, Chairman of ANC 6A, contacted me to let me know how out of control the problem has become and also to let me know that there will be a meeting Tuesday, July 19th at 7pm at the Sherwood Recreation Center.  The meeting will bring together neighbors; representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Mayor’s office, and the Department of Health; as well as representatives from the 7-Eleven which many neighbors claim is the root of the rat problem.

I’ve read through pages of emails from neighbors around the 7-Eleven who are reporting that conditions behind the store are directly contributing to the rats they are seeing around their homes. Many have reported seeing as many as five rats at a time traveling together across yards during the day, but always returning to the alley behind the convenience market.  There have also been accounts of watching rats crawl into the foundation of the building that houses 7-Eleven.

The neighbors say that 7-Eleven’s alley trash receptacles are overflowing and leaking and that the rats have chewed through the bottoms, causing any trash that is put in the containers to flow out into the alley. The neighbors have said that 7-Eleven management has been unresponsive and that they’ve had enough. A few have said that they are no longer using their decks because of the presence of rats and rat feces.

A Health Department Inspection document dated July 6, 2011 indicates that among other violations, mice droppings were seen in the rear storage and customer areas and that rodents had eaten through the waste cans in the rear of the store, and that 7-Eleven has 45 days to, “…clean ground area where storage racks are held in shed and remove racks.”

In the meantime, 7-Eleven remains open and neighbors say they are forced to live indoors until a solution is found. City officials have been responsive to neighbor concerns, but until 7-Eleven cleans up after itself, abatement efforts seem futile. Hopefully the meeting on the 19th will prove productive and all parties can find a solution that allows this corner of our neighborhood to go back to enjoying it, inside and out.

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  • Elizabeth Holland

    Happy Free Slurpee Day!

    • Anonymous

      @Elizabeth – the timing wasn’t the greatest, I know! On the other hand, I’m glad to know about this before heading over there for my free slurpee! Plus, I heard the “new” 7-Eleven on H Street is having other Free Slurpee Day related fun and games, so maybe it’s worth traveling the extra couple of blocks anyway?

  • Elizabeth Holland

    Happy Free Slurpee Day!

  • Gross! I’ve been spending ages at Jacob’s studying for the bar and haven’t seen any rats…but I definitely won’t be going into the 7-11 ever again (although, I’m pleased to say that I’ve never purchased anything there at least).

  • Anonymous

    This is fast journalism. I was waiting in my car for some friends to exit their home. They leave approximately 5 doors away from that 7-11 store and I am telling you the rat I saw dive into their landscaped bushes was big as a cat. I am blowing the car horn, like that was going to scare that rodent. When I mentioned it to my friends, they retorted like “you ain’t seen nothing until the neighborhood feral cat is chasing them down the alley and then the rat is chasing them back up the alley.”

    Native Washingtonian, back in the 60’s there was a campaign called War on Rats. I do believe we need to re-enlist active duty rat soldiers.

  • Ramblers

    This is fast journalism. I was waiting in my car for some friends to exit their home. They live approximately 5 doors away from that 7-11 store and I am telling you the rat I saw dive into their landscaped bushes was big as a cat. I am blowing the car horn, like that was going to scare that rodent. When I mentioned it to my friends, they retorted like “you ain’t seen nothing until the neighborhood feral cat is chasing them down the alley and then the rat is chasing them back up the alley.”

    Native Washingtonian, back in the 60’s there was a campaign called War on Rats. I do believe we need to re-enlist active duty rat soldiers.

  • It’s almost as bad beside the Cosi on 3rd and Penn SE. The little fenced in yard right beside the entrance to the Cosi (on 3rd ST) is like a rat field…there were at least 5 of them running around on the Fourth of July back and forth between big holes . I don’t know if this little yard is a part of the Cosi property or not, but I thought I was looking at a prairie dog field until I realized what they were.

    • Anonymous

      Karl – you should definitely contact the ANC, DOH and Mayor’s office. They’ve been very responsive from what I can tell in this instance.

    • Anonymous

      Karl – you should definitely contact the ANC, DOH and Mayor’s office. They’ve been very responsive from what I can tell in this instance.

    • Anonymous

      Karl – you should definitely contact the ANC, DOH and Mayor’s office. They’ve been very responsive from what I can tell in this instance.

  • Around 10pm last night, I drove into the alley from 8th St NE. (note: I live on MD Ave NE and I love our neighborhood.)

    I stopped my car to watch the scurry of rats, tails and backsides darting under the metal plate in the alley. My headlights shown on the metal plate. I was dumbstruck at the number of rats I saw. I sat there for a few seconds and watched in disgust. And that’s when I heard it. The NOISE. With my car windows rolled up and the AC on, I could hear the sounds of rats squeaking and squealing. The clearly audible sound was coming from the refuse area behind the 7-11. I turned my head to the refuse area, to see more rats running behind trash cans and sliding into holes. Despite the rats being hidden at that point, the piercing sound of the rats screaming was enough to make my stomach turn.

    I recommend to anyone who wants firsthand witness to the rodent issues at 8th and Maryland NE, for them to walk down the alley (on 8th St NE) starting at about 11pm. If the sight of the rats isn’t enough to sway you, I would hope the sound of them will.

    I have lived in DC a total of 17 years since 1992. I have NEVER seen (yet alone HEARD) what I witnessed last night.

  • Anonymous

    Mary K, consider yourself lucky. I am telling you another place to have your heart stop in mid-beat is when I was at Eastern High School. This was prior to the 77 million dollars in renovations. We were exiting the building via the parking lot entrance in the late evening. While standing outside, something scurried across the parking lot. Not wanting to alarm anyone, I relunctantly thought that it was squirrel adjusting to daylight savings time. Then I started adding up the surroundings; late night and trash-dumpsters. Well, the rats must have felt we had stayed out our welcome and they became scurrying more and more.

    What got me was the closeness of the trash-dumpsters to the parking lot entrance and the likelihood of the rats scampering in the building. Which to my surprise when I informed a custodian of what we had just witnessed, he pretty much confirmed that what is outside doesn’t compare to the rodents inside. Yeeeeeeeeeek!

    So, here’s a thought a 77 million dollar remodeled building but the trash dumpsters are in the same vicinity, do I need to say anymore. Shhheeeesh!!
    I have seen visible signs of exterminators’ trap equipment around the school, so I am guessing that preventive efforts have halted the invasion.

    Finally, I was a student summer worker in the 1970’s and the War on Rats was in full effect. There was a community activist named Kimi Gray, she lived in Kenilworth. That neighborhood was experiencing a rat problem of enormous proportion. Yet, this was a housing development and it fell on deaf-ears. The DC Housing Authority would log in the complaints and then would send some out there to investigate and fix the problem temporarily. Well, I worked the phone-lines for DCHA and I was the fortunate one to take Kimi Gray’s call, she was furious, she was tired of calling and with no sense of satisfaction. She said, that no one will understand about the rat problem until someone comes to y’all office. I took the message and gave it to my supervisor and thought nothing else about it…and so did my supervisor.

    Well, Kimi Gray came to the office on North Capital Street, NE, with a black trash bag and demanded to see the Director. As DC employees would often do, they ignored her and she went ballistic. Guess what was in her black trash bag…but rats that she had caught? She emptied that bag in our lobby and you are talking about 50 people scurrying for the front door. The question was the problem solved…and I can honestly say yes. The Kenilworth area of the past is definitely not the Kenilworth of the present and it all started with Kimi Gray…rest her soul.

  • Ramblers

    Mary K, consider yourself lucky. I am telling you another place to have your heart stop in mid-beat is when I was at Eastern High School. This was prior to the 77 million dollars in renovations. We were exiting the building via the parking lot entrance in the late evening. While standing outside, something scurried across the parking lot. Not wanting to alarm anyone, I relunctantly thought that it was squirrel adjusting to daylight savings time. Then I started adding up the surroundings; late night and trash-dumpsters. Well, the rats must have felt we had stayed out our welcome and they became scurrying more and more.

    What got me was the closeness of the trash-dumpsters to the parking lot entrance and the likelihood of the rats scampering in the building. Which to my surprise when I informed a custodian of what we had just witnessed, he pretty much confirmed that what is outside doesn’t compare to the rodents inside. Yeeeeeeeeeek!

    So, here’s a thought a 77 million dollar remodeled building but the trash dumpsters are in the same vicinity, do I need to say anymore. Shhheeeesh!!
    I have seen visible signs of exterminators’ trap equipment around the school, so I am guessing that preventive efforts have halted the invasion.

    Finally, I was a student summer worker in the 1970’s and the War on Rats was in full effect. There was a community activist named Kimi Gray, she lived in Kenilworth. That neighborhood was experiencing a rat problem of enormous proportion. Yet, this was a housing development and it fell on deaf-ears. The DC Housing Authority would log in the complaints and then would send some out there to investigate and fix the problem temporarily. Well, I worked the phone-lines for DCHA and I was the fortunate one to take Kimi Gray’s call, she was furious, she was tired of calling and with no sense of satisfaction. She said, that no one will understand about the rat problem until someone comes to y’all office. I took the message and gave it to my supervisor and thought nothing else about it…and so did my supervisor.

    Well, Kimi Gray came to the office on North Capital Street, NE, with a black trash bag and demanded to see the Director. As DC employees would often do, they ignored her and she went ballistic. Guess what was in her black trash bag…but rats that she had caught? She emptied that bag in our lobby and you are talking about 50 people scurrying for the front door. The question was the problem solved…and I can honestly say yes. The Kenilworth area of the past is definitely not the Kenilworth of the present and it all started with Kimi Gray…rest her soul.

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