Volunteers sought for SOLV beach & riverside cleanup

No matter what their age, volunteers come from far and wide to participate in the annual Fall Beach Cleanup. File photo by Dave Fisher

From Sept. 18 through Oct. 3, Oregonians are participating in SOLVE’s 38th annual Beach & Riverside Cleanup in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. This volunteer event is aimed at improving the health of waterways through litter pick-up and restoration work. While this event spans three weekends, most volunteer projects occurred Saturday, Sept. 25.

Since the event began, over 2,000 volunteers have come together and collected 26,815 pounds of litter and marine debris from Oregon’s coast, rivers, waterways and neighborhoods.

For many Oregonians there was an even greater drive to participate in a statewide cleanup and restoration event this year. Droughts have persisted in western states through the summer months, sounding the alarm on the importance of taking care of our water as a precious natural resource.

By removing litter anywhere, volunteers prevent pollution everywhere. Each piece of garbage or debris that is not properly disposed of poses a risk to the surrounding environment, wildlife and water quality. Litter is most easily transported by the wind into storm drains or waterways. From there, it can flow downstream, adding to our international marine debris crisis.

Volunteers gathered at more than 100 projects across the state to demonstrate their commitment to keeping Oregon’s waterways clean.

In Portland alone, more than 400 volunteers participated at various cleanup projects throughout the city. The project located in Portland’s Central Eastside saw more than 80 volunteers who removed 1,230 pounds of litter in just two hours. This cleanup targeted litter that if left uncollected would have a strong possibility of entering the nearby Willamette River. Among the items recovered were crab pots, couches, and river rafting equipment.

Along the coast, the Heart of Cartm, a recycling and reuse organization, stepped up as a new SOLVE beach captain in Nehalem Bay. More than 400 pounds of litter and marine debris were collected from their project site. Jessi Just, the executive director of Heart of Cartm, then sorted through the collected items, looking for things that are on her organization’s “wish list.” These items will find new life in upcoming repair workshops and art classes.

The non-profit Washed Ashore also helped divert other collected items from the waste stream from three beach cleanups. As they have done for several years, members of the Washed Ashore Team drove along Oregon’s southern coast, collecting items that can be reused in their nationally recognized art sculptures

There were many ways for Oregonians to show up for SOLVE’s Beach & Riverside Cleanup. Each volunteer made a direct difference in Oregon’s water quality and environmental health. SOLVE supports volunteer projects year-round. To view upcoming volunteer opportunities, please visit solveoregon.org.

The Beach & Riverside Cleanup is held in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, with additional support from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Metro, Subaru of Portland, Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, Chevron, NAVEX Global, Fred Meyer, Facebook, Clean Water Services, Bamboo Sushi, The Coca-Cola Company, and Tillamook County Creamery Association.

About SOLVE

SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas, and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information.

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