Tons of trash removed during ‘Creek Clean-up’

See how outer East Portland volunteers helped boost the health of Johnson Creek during the annual clean-up event …

In the Lents neighborhood, volunteers bring up more trash to be collected, during the 12th annual “Johnson Creek Clean-Up”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Along the waterway, volunteers from the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) hopped into the creek to pull out trash and junk during the 12th annual “Johnson Creek Clean-Up”, on Saturday morning, August 24.

After meeting at Mill Park early that morning, about 150 volunteers split up into teams to cover about seven miles of the creek.

As this year’s Clean-up gets underway, Portland Parks & Recreation Stewardship Coordinator Susan Hawes, JCWC Board Member David Gruen,  JCWC Board Chair Melanie Klym, JCWC Advisory Council member Walt Mintkeski, and JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel gather for a photo.

“Specifically, we had 15 teams going into the creek; this time of year the water level is low, making it easier for our volunteers, wearing old tennis shoes and shorts, to walk into the reaches of the creek and pull out trash,” said JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel.

“Volunteers pull out bikes, furniture, clothing, discarded plastics, and treated lumber, all things that are dangerous and hazardous to wildlife,” Beckel told East Portland News.

With the water level low, volunteers can easily wade around in Johnson Creek to remove refuse and trash.

One of the volunteers getting wet that Saturday was Melanie Klym, JCWC Board Chair, and the cleanup’s co-leader for 12 years. She remarked that, while removing tons of trash positively impacts the creek, there really is more to the day.

“I love hearing people’s stories about getting into Johnson Creek and realizing that there are really beautiful areas that they never knew about,” revealed Klym. “And, we establish with folks that it’s okay, and safe, to get into the creek and experience it, and see how much wildlife there actually is in it.

James Linnebur pitches trash collected from Johnson Creek by members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 22.

“Having people experience this, and seeing the change in their expectations when they leave – and then when they come back the next year – is really rewarding,” observed Klym.

At the end of the day, dropboxes contained 4.5 tons of trash that had been removed from Johnson Creek by volunteers.

To learn more about, or get involved in JCWC, see their official website: CLICK HERE

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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