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There are all kinds of signs that summer's here...one is seeing folks cleaning up Woodstock Blvd

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Having picked up 23 cigarette butts in just one block astonished seven year-old Zev Busse, as he helped his family - Dad Ryan, Mom Jessica, and sister Amelie - to sweep along Woodstock Boulevard during the cleanup on June 1st. It was, once again, a beautiful and sunny day for the 8th annual Woodstock Community Cleanup – which is always set one day before the Sunday opening day of the Woodstock Farmers Market.

So, on Saturday June 1st, residents and business people and neighborhood families turned out for two hours of sweeping and cleaning around and along Woodstock Boulevard, and sprucing up the sidewalk planters.

Angie Even, organizer and former business owner – but still a Woodstock property owner (Grand Central Bakery building) – has given her time and energy to efficiently organize these cleanups since 2011.

As people arrived at 9 in the morning, pastries, fruit, and coffee greeted them on tables in front of the Woodstock Community Center. Ten grocery carts were lined up in front of the Center, waiting to be pushed away by volunteers.

Eight carts were filled with brooms, dustpans, and SOLVE plastic trash bags, and two carts contained plants, trowels, and weeding implements to help freshen up the boulevard planters.

Each cart had a number assigned to it, with instructions indicating where its work should start, and a check-off list to keep track of the work done.

Even told volunteers, "First of all, everybody have fun. Landscapers did the medians and tree wells last week, so we are focusing on cleaning the boulevard, and improving the concrete planters." The medians and tree wells are maintained through funds from the Stakeholder Group – a nonprofit organization formed by Woodstock commercial property owners.

A dozen Advantis Credit Union employees from all over the city and the City of Milwaukie participated, as well as a representative from Woodstock OnPoint Credit Union, and Woodstock's US Bank.

Rick Faber, a Portland City Arborist and Woodstock resident, pruned lower branches off new parking-strip trees, while his wife Sandy and two-and-a-half-year-old son Justin looked on, and supported four-year-old daughter Chelsea – who helped pull the branches to the sidewalk after her father sawed them.

Eastmoreland resident Jim Waud and son Jacob were there to help, too. For Jacob, and his friend Ian Williams, the cleanup provided an opportunity to get community service credit for Cleveland High School. Ian's mother Karen Williams also participated.

Jessica and Ryan Busse swept sidewalks and gutters and picked up litter, along with their nine-year old daughter Amelie and seven-year old son Zev. Zev announced with some astonishment, "I found 23 cigarette butts in one block."

This was the second year of participation for the Busse family, and Ryan said later in an e-mail: "We believe it is important to be in service to our community, and to teach our children that value as well. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout for the cleanup, and the support from the local businesses was amazing. Woodstock is a great community and we are glad to be a part of it. Many people passing by went out of their way to thank us for volunteering, which further made the experience more rewarding. We really enjoyed ourselves."

The Garfield family – Garrett and Bayra, and their three children, Zack, Nathan, and Zyaa – energetically weeded sidewalk cracks, and swept gutters and sidewalks along Woodstock Boulevard just east of Cesar Chavez Blvd (formerly 39th Avenue).

At 11:30 volunteers returned to the Woodstock Community Center for a generous lunch of hot dogs, salads, and ice cream. Donors this year were Otto's Sausage Kitchen, New Seasons Market, Papaccino's Coffee, Grand Central Bakery, Double Mountain Brewery, Cloud City Ice Cream, The UPS Store, City Sanitary Service, Advantis Credit Union, OnPoint Credit Union, and Reed College. SOLVE was also a sponsor of the cleanup.

Angie Even reported afterward that 74 volunteers had filled 70 large bags with litter, and one large dropbox was filled with tree limbs.

Everyone claimed to have had fun; and the neighborhood, from Chavez Boulevard to S.E. 57th Avenue, was in good shape for the first day of the Woodstock Farmers Market on the following day.

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