Volunteers recycle bottles and cans to help neighborhood projects

Got return deposit containers sitting around? See where you can take them in outer East Portland and help Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbors do more to clean up the area …

Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association board member Tom Barnes gets a hand from Donna Dionne, of Love Boutique and also a member of the Midway Business Association board, sorting cans.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Every other week, all year long, volunteers from the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association keep up their effort to earn funds for their neighborhood’s activities and worthy projects.

You’ll find them accepting donations – not of money, but of empty return-deposit cans and bottles – in the Sears parking lot on SE 122nd Avenue, a block south of SE Division Street.

It’s organized by Tom Barnes, also the founder of the East Portland Graffiti Clean-up Program  — and current Spirit of Portland Emerging Neighborhood Leader winner. “With many City budgets cut, we went looking for ways to raise money for neighborhood projects,” he said.

Neighbor Sue Gillean drops off plastic bottles at a recent collection event.

“I think this is a better idea than leaving return-deposit recyclables out for transients who use them to buy their cigarettes and beer,” said Sue Gillean, as she dropped off a bag of plastic water bottles. “This is going to help the whole neighborhood, and our community. It’s a good thing to do.”

Their plan of holding the recycling drop-off events on a regular monthly schedule has turned out to be a good idea, Barnes told us. “Collections keep continuing, as more people remember to bring them here on the second and fourth Sunday of every month.”

It’s not only cans that they can recycle for cash, to help neighborhood projects. Check the label on your water bottle – it probably has deposit-return value, too.

So far, the funds have gone toward a variety of neighborhood activities, including neighborhood clean-ups, safety education programs, and Movies in the Parks events.

Next collection drive is August 28
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., you’ll find them in the Sears parking lot at 2626 SE 122nd Avenue (just south of Pizza Baron). For more information, contact Tom Barnes by email at omdy12@gmail.com, or see the PGNA Website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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