Lents volunteers preen WestRock blocks

Find out why folks are picking up stray trash escaping from the WestRock Recycling center …

Lents Neighborhood Livability Association volunteers Char Pennie and Neola Larsen begin picking up litter blown from the nearby recycling facility.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Irritated and annoyed by paper, cardboard, and plastics blowing around the two-block WestRock Recycling facility in the Lents neighborhood – south of SE Foster Road, and east of I-205 – folks have occasionally picked up the trash in the past.

But, on Saturday morning, January 26, volunteers associated with the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA) met near the intersection of 101st Avenue and SE Woodstock Boulevard (the stub of the eastbound couplet) to begin new regularly-scheduled clean-ups around the facility, which is surrounded by houses.

LNLA volunteer pick up litter around the recycler, even snatching debris caught in the perimeter fence.

“In the past, we’ve had kind of a contentious relationship between the WestRock and the neighbors; wind blows plastic, paper, and cardboard recycling materials into the neighborhood streets, and neighbors’ yards,” remarked LNAL Chair David Potts at the inaugural cleanup.

“Managers of the company want to ‘make peace’ with the neighborhood and be better neighbors, so we’re here to help, by cleaning up the area around their two-square-block plant,” Potts told East Portland News.

They’re proud to have found a way to work with WestRock, to improve the neighborhood litter problem, says LNLA Chair David Potts.

Using yard blowers, the crew herds trash down the street, where it will be collected.

WestRock representatives approached the LNAL, Potts said, and asked if we’d take on regular neighbor clean-ups as a project. “And, they offered an honorarium – a contribution to our organization – for us to do the work.”

Armed with rakes, trash pickers, and a couple of high-speed blowers, the dozen volunteers cleaned up the area. And, instead of just blowing the refuse down the road into a vacant field, they diligently gathered it into piles, picked it up, and properly disposed of it.

Volunteers sweep together, pick and bag debris from the blocks for disposal.

“Because our volunteers do the work, the funds we receive will allow us to advance our other projects, as we work for the betterment of our neighborhood,” Potts remarked.

“We look at this is a win/win situation,” smiled Potts.

Neighbors, watching from their yards, apparently agreed – giving the volunteers “thumbs up” salutes.

Learn more about this effort, as well as the LNLA, by visiting their “unlocked” (anyone can visit) Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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