GATHERING TRASH FROM OREGON'S BEACHES
March 30, 2004 11:00 pm
Mandy Inman and Nick Famoso of Grants Pass show steel cable found at Harris Beach. ().
Mandy Inman and Nick Famoso of Grants Pass show steel cable found at Harris Beach. ().

Pilot story and photos

by Andrea Barkan

Nearly 80 people cleaned beaches in Brookings and Gold Beach Saturday during the 19th annual Great Oregon Spring Beach Cleanup.

At Harris Beach, about 52 locals and out-of-towners collected an estimated 255 pounds of trash, zone captain Karen Johnson said.

Bill Church, beach captain for Gold Beach, said though turnout there was lower than expected, volunteers still gleaned enough trash to fill a standard dumpster.

Twice a year, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and SOLV coordinate beach cleanups from Astoria to Brookings.

Bev Ardueser, SOLV program coordinator, said 4,700 people collected an estimated 40.2 tons of trash Saturday along the Oregon Coast.

"That's a huge number," Ardueser said.

It is the second highest amount of trash collected in 19 years, she said.

The 26 Gold Beach cleaners found 22 tires between the mouth of the Rogue River and Pistol River, Church said.

Church said the only items that consistently eclipse tires in sheer volume are flip-flops.

Dozens of the plastic summer shoes migrate onto sandy coastal shores every year, Church said.

"It's hard to tell where they come from," he said.

The Gold Beach crew also found a commercial crab pot this time around.

"We have no idea where that came from," Church said.

Johnson said other interesting items discovered by Curry County cleaners included a barbeque kettle and half of an aluminum boat.

Heather Larsen, 16, found a bleach bottle. Michael Burns, 11, found a fishing pole and a large piece of metal.

Burns and Larsen, along with 15-year-old Jeremy Polk, traveled from the Josephine County Juvenile Shelter in Grants Pass to participate in the cleanup.

Patsy Lewis, the shelter's group life coordinator, and Mike Rustrum, juvenile probation officer, brought the kids to the cleanup so they could earn school credit and learn about the environment.

Larsen said there was less trash than she anticipated.

Azalea Middle School student Donna Stevens also said she expected more trash.

Stevens, 13, did the cleanup with Azalea Junior Honor Society.

Charlotte Heatherly, junior honor society advisor, said because the planned event coincided with spring break, it didn't yield a large school-wide turnout.

Honor society members Justine Dodgen, 13, and Michele Banta, 13, joined in the cleanup, as did 12-year-old Krista Watterson.

"Since the honor society is a service organization, we thought it would be a good way to … help the planet," Heatherly said.

"The SOLV people have it so well organized all we have to do is show up and get the bags and work," she said.

Grants Pass High School Key Club members also found their way to Harris Beach for the cleanup.

Mandy Inman, 16, said she found less trash this year than last. She and Nick Famoso, 17, found a thick piece of steel cable and lots of styrofoam.

Heatherly, who participates in the cleanup every year, said the amount and type of trash has changed since her first cleanup in 1987.

"Garbage picked up (now) is garbage that is washing in from the ocean, not garbage being left here," she said.

Heatherly recalls much more trash left on beaches in years past.

"We used to find diapers – yuk," Heatherly said. "But this beach is clean."

The fall beach cleanup is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 18.Continued from Page 1B

"Since the honor society is a service organization, we thought it would be a good way to … help the planet," Heatherly said.

"The SOLV people have it so well organized all we have to do is show up and get the bags and work," she said.

Grants Pass High School Key Club members also found their way to Harris Beach for the cleanup.

Mandy Inman, 16, said she found less trash this year than last. She and Nick Famoso, 17, found a thick piece of steel cable and lots of styrofoam.

Heatherly, who participates in the cleanup every year, said the amount and type of trash has changed since her first cleanup in 1987.

"Garbage picked up (now) is garbage that is washing in from the ocean, not garbage being left here," she said.

Heatherly recalls much more trash left on beaches in years past.

"We used to find diapers – yuk," Heatherly said. "But this beach is clean."

The fall beach cleanup is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 18.