Rats and garbage a problem at Ashland’s “night lawn”

ASHLAND, Ore. – The “night lawn” or dusk-to-dawn camping area just outside the police and municipal building in Ashland, has been problematic for the town and the community that uses it. Since the city set up the area, there have been belongings left outside along the road, as well as trash, which has brought uninvited guests to the lawn…Rats. Large Norwegian brown rats have infested the area and are chewing through tents and sleeping bags. Those supplies have to then be replaced. With a lack of water, the rats are emboldened to come out even in the daytime.

Debbie Neisewander, an advocate to the community of the dusk-to-dawn camping area, could see many rats scampering around. “There goes one there, a rat running. They’re all over the place. And you can see the dumpster, if you go see the dumpster, it’s overflowing.”

Advocates and volunteers have been meeting with the Mayor and city officials every Friday for the past month to try and rectify the problems at the “night lawn.”

Mayor Tonya Graham says, “We are looking to figure out how to address that in terms of the dumpster, but also how to address that in terms of food and that’s one of things the advocates have been talking to us about is what is the potential for storage lockers so people can lock their food away from them, outside their tents.”

Neisewander says, “The city just threw this together because of House Bill 3115. They had to create a designated place so we could eliminate folks camping through the town of Ashland. The thing that bothers me and I have said over and over is its supposed to be objectively reasonable, and this is not a reasonable alternative and hasn’t been.”

The Mayor hopes to address issues brought up at the meetings and continue to offer the “night lawn” for those in need of a place to stay at night.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

NBC5 News Reporter Ethan Quin is an Emmy-nominated multi-media journalist. He grew up in Northern California and has worked and lived across the country as a photographer and editor. Ethan graduated from Full Sale University with a BS in Film Studies. He was a photojournalist at WFMZ-TV, Allentown, PA. He’s also been a producer, documentary film maker and wildlife photographer. Ethan loves hiking, movies and playing piano and guitar.
Skip to content