SOLVE turns its attention to cleaning East Portland riverbank

INCLUDES CLEAN-UP VIDEO | Take a look, and see what these volunteers came out to do …

Trash pickers and bags in hand, these volunteers – several from outer East Portland neighborhoods – are ready to head out for the second annual Willamette River Clean-Up.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Because of their success last year retrieving trash and garbage along the Willamette River’s bank near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), SOLVE Oregon returned for a Second Annual “Willamette River Cleanup” on Saturday morning, July 29.

Gathering in the OMSI parking lot, some of the more than one hundred volunteers found their way down to the river. By 10 a.m., some groups had already received their safety briefing, and were on their way, picking up trash.

SOLVE Program and Sustainability Manager Haley Morris welcomes volunteers to the clean-up.

“This is more than cleaning; it’s a expression of community spirit and environmental stewardship,” is how SOLVE Program and Sustainability Manager Haley Morris put it to the volunteers.

Watch, as volunteers gather, get briefed, and head out to pick up refuse:

“We’re trying to get trash out of and away from the river, so it does not end up downstream in the Willamette, eventually draining into the ocean by way of the Columbia River,” Morris told East Portland News.

“Also, part of our effort is making people aware that it’s good for our overall ecological health to clean our rivers and waterways,” She went on.

Presenting the required safety orientation, here’s SOLVE Assistant Program Manager Emily Berend.

Volunteers are heading out along the Willamette River’s East Bank Esplanade.

When asked about “campers” in the area to be cleaned, Morris responded, “A SOLVE staff member went out last week and did some outreach, letting the people know that we were going to be here today. We informed them that we’re to stay out of their way, and perhaps clean up around their areas, but will give them space while we’re here.”

Hallie Andre and Heidi Andre from outer East Portland are on the hunt for trash.

In addition to seeing rubbish they’re gathering, volunteers also get an expansive view of the Willamette River.

After the orientation, volunteers weren’t assigned any specific areas to litter-pick; they were turned loose to hunt for trash as far south as the Ross Island Bridge. In addition to land-based volunteers, members with the Portland Rowing Club also pitched in, grabbing floating debris on the water.

In a little over two hours volunteers removed 1,650 pounds of rubbish from the riverbanks.

During the Willamette River Cleanup, some volunteers work their way down the steep riverbank below OMSI to gather trash.

For more information about SOLVE, and to learn of the Oregon nonprofitr’s many ongoing volunteer activities, visit their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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