Johnson Creek gets ‘deep cleaning’ by volunteers

INCLUDES REALLY CLEAN VIDEO | From the Willamette River through outer East Portland to Gresham, see volunteers cleaning trash and refuse out of Johnson Creek. Items they pulled out ranged from fascinating to disgusting …

At the western edge of the Lents neighborhood, volunteers in this year’s Johnson Creek Clean-Up pick up trash from the creek.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The return of the Johnson Creek Clean-Up on August 19 gave the opportunity for 140 volunteers for the Johnson Creek Watershed Council the opportunity to wade into the creek and pull out the trash that’s accumulated over the past year.

Eager to see the video? It’s below!

Again this year, volunteers met up with their assigned “Creek Captain” at one of a dozen sites along Johnson Creek, participated in a safety briefing, and then headed off into the water.

JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry greets a volunteer during the cleanup.

“The Johnson Creek Clean-Up helps fulfill the mission of our organization because salmon and other aquatic and terrestrial wildlife are hurt by many types of human garbage,” explained JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

“Our mission is to restore Johnson Creek through sound science and community engagement,” Newberry continued.

“Removing garbage from Johnson Creek gives an immediate boost to the stream’s health; especially because toxic chemicals from batteries and automobile tires are a big problem – and plastics break down into microplastics that harm the fish that swallow it,” he elaborated.

Volunteers Galen Hoshovsky and Eric Randall look up and smile as they pull trash from Johnson Creek.

In outer East Portland, one group began their hunt for trash in Johnson Creek near SE Harney Street at 82nd Avenue of Roses, heading upstream into the Lents neighborhood.

From there, other groups worked their way out toward and past Gresham preening this urban waterway.

Alas, there’s plenty of trash to find in Johnson Creek – here, near the Flavel Street TriMet MAX Light Rail Station.

Working both upstream and downstream, another group were busy pulling garbage from the creek near SE 92nd Avenue and Flavel Street, as well as in the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

Volunteer Matthew Walker hands out jumbo burritos to volunteers returning from their sites.

Unlike the isolation period during the pandemic, all of the volunteers were invited for a communal lunch afterwards, featuring huge burritos, at Johnson Creek Park in Sellwood.

During lunch, volunteers regaled one another with stories about some of the more unique items they’d pulled out of the creek.

Even though it didn’t win the Golden Trash Can Award, Creek Captain Scott Kelly, shows this “treasure” his team snatched out of the water between Johnson Creek Park and S.E. Umatilla Street.

Then, the Creek Captains each got up and showed odd debris their team found, each vying to win the “Golden Trash Can Award” for the most unusual – or the most disgusting – find of the day. This year’s winning item was a weathered item once purchased at an adults-only store.

Watch volunteers in this video wade into the water and clean up Johnson Creek:

As the amount of trash, debris, and refuse was removed from the Creek was added up, it totaled about 6.5 tons that day.

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council hosts events year-’round; check in with them at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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