On Sunday morning, March 21, dozens of volunteers came from all over Inner Southeast to pick up trash and rubbish along the I-205 Multi-Use Path – as a number of people have been doing for some time, on the third Sunday of the month.
Complying with COVID-19 coronavirus protocols, volunteers showed up spread out between noon and 12:30 p.m. – to prevent a crowd from gathering – on the cul-de-sac of S.E. Ramona Street, at the Lents Town Center TriMet MAX Light Rail station.
Surprisingly, the Outer Southeast cleanup's founder and organizer lives in Eastmoreland. Catherine Schroeder told THE BEE she started it because she'd grown weary of seeing all the rubbish along this paved pathway.
"Even though I don't live nearby, I got started doing this because I'm a bicycle rider who, with my 'bicycle friends', just got tired of riding along a very MESSY path," Schroeder explained. "Instead of complaining, we decided to do something about it.
"After starting this up a few months ago, we partnered with the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association (LNLA), SOLVE, and DeTrash Portland, to start taking litter and debris off some of our bike paths," Schroeder explained.
On Sunday, March 21, some 50 volunteers were checked in for the task – all wearing face masks, dressed for the weather, and wearing closed-toed shoes, with work gloves in hand. LNLA volunteers provided instruction, gloves if needed, safety vests, trash bags, and mechanical litter-grabbers.
"I'm really pleased to see so many people coming here today to help out!" grinned Schroeder.
A couple of volunteers with LNLA, who were certified to safely pick up and dispose of syringes and needles, found and removed 119 needles from along the path that day.
When it was done, the volunteers had collected an astonishing 81 bags of trash, weighing in at 2,000 lbs. Yes, a ton of rubbish!
"It's been great having LNLA working with us, because they have extra equipment and supplies, and so many connections to help us spread the word," remarked Schroeder. "They also dispose of the trash we collect."
Typically, this two-hour trash pick-up is held on the third Sunday of the month. If you'd like to join in and help, they ask that you sign up in advance at the SOLVE website – www.solveoregon.org/solvecalendar – and, look for the "S.E. Portland Multi-Use Path Cleanup" listing.
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