Lents volunteers ‘green’ park and streets

See why folks gathered in this outer East Portland neighborhood park, eager to pick up trash and paint out graffiti …

A group of volunteers gather in Glenwood Park, in the heart of the Lents neighborhood, for a morning of cleaning streets and removing graffiti from poles, signs and fences.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Early on June 1, volunteers dressed in work clothes and headed for Glenwood Park in the Lents neighborhood to participate in an area-wide event called “Paint the Town Green”, sponsored by Southeast Uplift, Metro, the City of Portland Graffiti Abatement program, SOLVE, and a local radio station.

Lents group organizer, Marci Addy, says volunteering in one’s own neighborhood helps build a sense of community.

“We’re one of several groups meeting today, in different areas of Southeast Portland, cleaning up along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses,” said the group’s organizer, and Lents Neighborhood Association Secretary, Marci Addy.

“After picking up litter here in the park, our plan is to move west of SE Duke Street, and then head along the Avenue of Roses – going as far north as SE Foster Road, picking up trash,” she told East Portland News.

City of Portland Office of Community & Civic Life Graffiti Abatement Program Specialist Juliette Muracchioli advises only to pick up needles and other “medical sharps” for disposal if it can be done safely.

Addy said they were happy that the City of Portland Office of Community & Civic Life Graffiti Abatement Program Specialist Juliette Muracchioli was there to provide training on how to safely clean, or paint out, graffiti.

“Even though it’s a citrus-based cleaner that we use, do not use them on the faces of road signs – it will wipe off the reflective coating,” advised Muracchioli during her training.

At the end of the brief-but-comprehensive training, she told East Portland News that she welcomes those who have graffiti questions to contact her directly at Juliette.Muracchioli@portlandoregon.gov.

This group of civic-minded volunteers gathers for a “team photo”, before heading out on their “green’ mission.

“We have people here who are both current and former Lents neighborhood residents; it’s nice to have lots of nice people coming out to help us,” Addy commented, as about a dozen volunteers gathered for breakfast treats and coffee.

Then, with trash pickers, bags, and graffiti cleaning buckets in hand, the volunteers headed out.

Here, cleaning graffiti off a signpost along SE Duke Street, is volunteer Stephanie Scovill.

“It’s important for people to be invested in their neighborhood,” Addy commented. “It’s easy to stay home; but, as more people are helping their neighborhood, they become more invested – which helps build a stronger and more caring community.”

A little after noon, the group gathered again at the park to be treated to lunch, while they shared stories of their experiences with neighbors from surrounding areas.

Thanks to these volunteers, the Lents neighborhood is now a bit “greener”.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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