‘Connection Center’ volunteers help haul off storm debris

Here’s how many outer East Portland residents living on or near Mt. Scott got help clearing their property of downed branches …

Fortunately, lots of volunteers turned out at the Lents Community Connection Center, located on Mt. Scott, to help haul storm-downed brush into drop boxes.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The major winter storm that brought alternating layers of ice and snow – the one that rolled in on February 11– brought down bush branches and tree limbs all across outer East Portland.

>> CLICK HERE to read our coverage of major, February, 2021 storm.

In an effort to help neighbors in the vicinity of the Lents Community Connection Center on the campus of New Hope Church (formerly the Mt. Scott Community Church), volunteers opened an area of their property as a tree-debris repository – as soon as the ice had melted off the roads.

This service came to an end on Saturday morning, February 27, when some 20 volunteers loaded the debris into massive 30-yard drop boxes provided by Sellwood-based Heiberg Garbage & Recycling.

Yard debris clean-up organizer Stuart Schmaltz grabs limbs off the pile to take over to waiting drop boxes.

“My wife and I were driving in the area on the week of the storm, and saw that many people didn’t have power,” organizer Stuart Schmaltz recalled.

“We talked to some neighbors in the area, and asked if it would be helpful of we established a ‘drop spot’ on our church’s campus to help them out,” Schmaltz told East Portland News.

Undaunted by the pile of yard debris on which she’s working, volunteer Helen Putman stacks another load to be hauled.

The response: “They were tickled pink!” Schmaltz smiled. “First, awe do have a lot of property here for it. And, we’ve always tried to be of service to our neighborhood – like hosting ‘Bulky Waste Clean-up’ events, for years.”

After cleaning up the church’s campus the previous week, volunteers returned to help some lesser-able neighbors to get their yards cleaned up, as well.

Using a tarp, volunteers Sergio and Omar drag a big load of yard debris to a drop box.

As the volunteers gathered, the empty 30-yard drop boxes looked huge; but then again, so did the pile of sticks, twigs, and limbs that volunteers loaded into them.

“Our church does this because we love people,” explained Schmaltz. “We are the ‘hands and feet’ for our neighbors, right here in this community, because our goal is to share our love and the love of Jesus Christ; it’s what Jesus would do.”

Find out more about Lents Community Connection Center, see their website: CLICK HERE.

>> On our Front Page: Volunteer Ron Gullberg hauls a branch into a waiting drop box.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™





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