Chicago's Rat Tree Comes Tumbling Down

What’s the buzz? City saws.

The rat tree is gone. Reduced to a mere hollowed out stump sitting in the 1900 block of North Mozart. Early on Monday morning, a crew from the city Bureau of Forestry pulled up in front of Jennifer River’s house and began chopping away.

Four hours later, the tree that residents said was a high-rise rat condo was no longer.

“So, it turns out the rat tree was really a rat tree?” The question was put to Wanda Goin, who also lives on the block. “Yes, we didn’t make it up. We really didn’t,” she said.

No, they didn’t.

But let’s back up, to last Thursday and what Rivera and Goin said at the time.

“I think this past year is probably the worst I’ve seen for rats,” Goin said.

“I see them a lot during the day time,” exclaimed Rivera.

Crawling in and out of that nasty old tree, some the size of small kittens, according to Goin.

“The rats have hollowed into and are nesting there,” she said as she poked a stick into one of the many holes in the tree.

That was Thursday. Then came Friday---hours after our report--- and the city was baiting the tree with rat poison, said Goin.

On Monday morning a city crew was back in a big blue Streets and Sanitation truck with a lift to hoist a worker with a saw and big reddish-orange pinchers to pick up the detritus.

But wait! The city just a few weeks ago balked at cutting the tree down, Goin originally told us.

“They came out and said the tree is healthy, we won’t cut it down,” she said.

It’s not that the residents on the block don’t like trees, they do, she stresses, just not ones with rats in them.

The stump that now remains contains the residue of those dirty rotten rats and holes, that Goin says, still lead into resident’s yards. “They’ve dug a tunnel under here and then from that house under to the next yard,” she said, adding residents “can’t see the tunnel but they can hear the rats.”

Still the tree is gone and people on the block are pleased. “I think its kudos to everyone who was involved in this, NBC 5, our alderman who backed us and got it down and definitely to the forest service who finally took it down,” she said. “Well thank you guys, all of you very, very much.”

So, take that you dirty rotten rats!

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