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The annual cleanup found many volunteers pulling bags and bags of junk up out of Johnson Creek. VIDEO included

DAVID F. ASHTON - In the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, near the S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses overpass at Johnson Creek, volunteer Marshall Abbott, from the Clackamas and Happy Valley Rotary Club, walks a discarded ladder up out of the creek. After being hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic for two years, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) Annual Creek Clean-up event was again a splashing success on Saturday morning, August 20, as you'll see in the video, below.

"Splashing" — partly because only for a brief period in late summer are volunteers permitted to wade into the creek to remove the debris.

After a brief meeting, a large contingent of volunteers made their way into Johnson Creek City Park to begin their annual hunt for trash and debris. Team Leaders made sure the group didn't get sidetracked into Crystal Springs Creek, in that confluence area.

Other volunteers headed for the "Berkeley Place Downstream" location starting at S.E. Tacoma Street, west of 32nd Avenue.

Further upstream, Marianne Colgrove and a band of volunteers from Friends of Tideman Johnson Park picked up trash on the path and boardwalk at the edge of the Eastmoreland neighborhood.

DAVID F. ASHTON - All along Johnson Creek in Inner Southeast Portland, volunteers got wet and muddy pulling out trash and garbage out of the stream, to help improve the health of the iconic creek. Also, volunteers made their way down the steep embankment along the S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses overpass to pull rubbish from the creek out to Lambert Street.

"This year's event went very smoothly," reported JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry afterwards.

"The past two years have been quite a journey, in that we've had to make several pandemic-level adjustments," Newberry explained. "In 2020, because many public agencies weren't allowing volunteers onto their properties, we did a land-based cleanup, so people could practice 'social distancing'.

"In 2021, we were back in the stream, but with required masking, and we did not gather beforehand as a big group," Newberry recalled. "And, last year we also didn't have a barbeque. Instead we ordered burritos for everyone at their individual locations."

This year's 160 volunteers removed approximately six tons of garbage from Johnson Creek that day. "This was slightly below last year, but it's more than our long-term average of 5.5 tons," reflected Newberry. "Pre-COVID, we were attracting more like 200 to 250 volunteers at this annual event, so overall, this really was a success this year."

Asked about their most unusual find in 2022, Newberry responded, "This year we pulled six commercial electric scooters from one location; we've never seen that before! Otherwise, it was mostly the same stuff: Mattresses, tires, clothing, toys, tents."

Even though most of the volunteers were dirty, muddy, and soggy, by about noon they headed to Mill Park in the City of Milwaukie for food, the sharing of stories, and making new friends.

Learn more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council by visiting their website —

And spend a couple of minutes cleaning up Johnson Creek, in this BEE video:

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