Portlanders want to clean up the Springwaer Trail -- but it's a surprise is when its organizer lives far away from there

DAVID F. ASHTON - Many families arrived to help, during this Springwater Trail clean-up day. A year ago on March 21, a large group of volunteers – working in small "pods", due to COVID-19 social distancing – gathered to clean up the Springwater Trail and the Interstate 205 Multi-use Path, near Lents Town Center.

Surprising to some, this effort was led by a resident of the Eastmoreland neighborhood – Katherine Schroeder.

However, this wasn't a one-off occurrence for her. Just about every month since then, she has continued to organize such clean-ups; the most recent being on Sunday afternoon, March 13.

Homeless camps force cleanup southward

They'd had originally scheduled to do a Path clean-up further north, starting near S.E. Holgate Boulevard; but, due to numerous encampments in the area, it was considered too dangerous for volunteers to work in that area.

Not giving up, they shifted their efforts further south along S.E. 92nd Avenue, near the Springwater Trail crossing. There, the group was hosted by John Spinnette of Steve's Imports who offered amenities not found at other such events, including clean restrooms, water bottles, and a pizza lunch – just right for the 1 p.m. start time.

Long history of litter clean-ups

"I actually volunteered for the very first litter cleanup in my hometown of Vale, Oregon, on the very first Earth Day, and I've been picking up litter ever since!" Schroeder recalled.

DAVID F. ASHTON - More than just officially hosting the days cleanup, John Spinnette of Steves Imports also joined the volunteers going out to pick up trash. "This continues to be a partnership with SOLVE Oregon and the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association – thanks to the help of a lot of great volunteers cleaning up the Trail and Path," Schroeder told THE BEE.

She reminded that, although she lives in Inner Southeast Portland, as an avid bicyclist she enjoys riding all of the area's trails and bike paths. "Over the past year, this has been a remarkable experience – because of how responsive people have been, and how happy they say they are, to have a project in which they can bring their families and be of service to the community."

"The result is that neighbors who live along the Path, and who use the Path, like I do, are very pleased to see the work that we've been doing."

By the time all of those who came were oriented, a total of 46 volunteers – including several families with kids – ignored the light rain and pitched in to bag and pile about one ton of trash that day.

Does this activity look interesting? Join in at their next one on Sunday, April 10, from 1 until 3 p.m. To find out where, or to sign up on a special SOLVE website –

Here's a brief BEE video of the cleanup in action – 

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