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Parks and Recreation is hosting the annual community cleanup this Saturday morning

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Last year, members of Boy Scout Troop 28 helped pick up litter during the Prineville Clean-up Day, which Crook County Parks and Recreation hosts in conjunction with SOLVE and Earth Day each spring.

It's time for some community-wide spring cleaning.

Crook County Parks and Recreation District, in partnership with SOLVE, plans the annual Crook County Community Cleanup Day from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 21 as a way of not only celebrating Earth Day, but also beautifying the town.

"The purpose of the event is for the community to be able to give back a little bit, for us to be able to give back to the community and take care of this place that we call home," said Eli Tomlinson, the recreation coordinator at Parks and Rec. "We want to keep our community clean and beautiful because we know how beautiful the community is and how lovely it is to live here."

Registration begins around 8 a.m. Saturday in Pioneer Park with free coffee and donuts. Tomlinson will give a brief safety talk and provide directions before volunteers set out to start picking up litter at 9 a.m.

Individuals and groups may also register in advance through a link on the Parks and Rec website, which leads to the SOLVE site.

Tomlinson said this cleanup is a little different than what members of the Rotary Club of Crook County organized late last month.

"They did just the river cleanup, so they went through Ochoco Creek Park, and they did Ochoco Creek," he said. "They had a team inside the water and a team outside the water, just on the shore there, so they didn't actually clean up any of the park. They just cleaned up the debris that was going down the creek."

With this event, volunteers will work in several areas of town. People will pick up trash at the Y on the west side of town, at Ochoco Viewpoint, at the landfill, in the parks, along the old railroad trail, and in areas around the Crook County Fairgrounds and Crooked River Park.

"It's going to be community-wide — it's not just our parks — and I try to stress that," Tomlinson said. "The parks are a large part of the green space and common area in our community, but it is to clean up the streets."

Last year, around 70 folks joined the event, filling half of a 10-yard dumpster with trash. Tomlinson is hoping for as many as 75 volunteers this year and to fill the dumpster.

SOLVE, a nonprofit organization that strives to improve the environment by organizing cleanup events, provides trash bags, sharps containers, gloves, first aid kits, and signs for the Crook County Community Cleanup. SOLVE also provided a $100 grant to cover additional costs, such as the dumping fee.

Parks and Rec always schedules the community cleanup on a Saturday near Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22 each year.

After two or three hours of cleaning, the volunteers are welcome to come back to Pioneer Park for a barbecue lunch, which will begin at noon in the pavilion.

Several business sponsors have donated hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages and potato salads as a way of thanking the volunteers.

Tomlinson encourages people to join the cleanup and give back to their community.

"We want others to see that we do care about our parks and creeks and our community in general," he said. "It's more or less a way to give back so the younger generation can see that we're trying to provide them with a nice place to grow up."

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