Rats continue be a problem for employees in Alameda County offices at the Eastmont Town Center in Oakland, a county employee said and county officials recently admitted.
The Alameda County Social Services Agency temporarily closed its offices at the center at 7200 Bancroft Ave. on Sept. 9 for the health and safety of the staff and the public, spokeswoman Sylvia Soublet said then.
The offices were going to be cleaned before reopening, Soublet said. Agency officials on Feb. 24 identified the affected area as the Eastmont Self Sufficiency Center, located on the first floor. Other county agencies lease space at the center, too.
“We still have rats,” said Cara Williams, the president for the Social Services chapter for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, representing about 2,100 employees. “This has been an ongoing issue.”
Rats are eating through doors and carpet and crawled into the mail machine and ate a tube in the machine, Williams said.
On Wednesday morning, the division director found one in a drawer looking up at her, Williams said.
The property is owned by Vertical Ventures, headquartered in Walnut Creek, and managed by Cushman & Wakefield. The center comprises 541,000 square feet and was last renovated in 2009. It was built between 1965 and 1972.
Just dropping in
Employees see rat droppings and rat damage in the morning when they come into work and have said that they don’t want to work in the building, Williams said.
The rats have eaten the refrigerator seals so employees cannot leave food in there overnight, Williams added.
Vertical Ventures president and founder Hamid Rezapour referred a request for comment to Cushman & Wakefield, which declined to comment for the story.
Alameda County Vector Control has been involved in the problem, said community relations coordinator Daniel Wilson. They were called in last September.
Vector control staff went in without much success using live traps. Wilson said Norway rats are the problem. Norway rats live in the sewer system, among other places.
“It’s a tough situation,” Wilson said.
Vector control’s general recommendation is more traps and less available food for the rats, which is what they are coming for, Wilson said.
He said Cushman & Wakefield is aware of the problem and it would be nice if they would solve it.
“Currently, there is still some evidence of the presence of rodents in the office space,” Social Services Agency spokeswoman Sylvia Soublet said. “Therefore, the county continues to work with the Eastmont Town Center landlord and licensed exterminators to prevent the entrance or harborage of rodents in the workplace.
“We continue to meet with our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) team to seal off access points, install and monitor various types of traps, and install motion-sensing devices,” Soublet added. “We are also coordinating to ensure food products are not stored in the offices.
“The county is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all of our employees at all times,” Soublet said.
Alameda County Board of Supervisors Vice President Nate Miley, whose district includes the Eastmont Town Center, did not have time to talk about the problem.