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An annual cleanup comes to Holgate Boulevard, and several full Dumpsters are hauled away after the day is done

PAIGE WALLACE - The line of cars and trucks began early, for this years Dumpster Day cleanup in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood - often stretching a dozen at a time alongside Tucker-Maxon School, and out onto S.E. Holgate Boulevard. If this year's "Dumpster Day" is any indication, Creston-Kenilworth residents have been doing some deep cleaning lately. The annual neighborhood cleanup on Saturday, October 8, brought in more trash, recyclables, and reusables than ever before.

An estimated 100 vehicles began lining up along S.E. Holgate Boulevard well before the 10 a.m. start time. Volunteers helped unload those cars and trucks into 3 large-capacity Dumpsters, stretching end-to-end alongside Tucker-Maxon School just east of S.E. 28th Avenue. By 11:30 a.m., the Dumpsters were full.

That was 120 cubic yards of junk headed for the landfill, without those individual residents having to make the trip.

PAIGE WALLACE - Much better to put an unwanted sofa into a Dumpster than to leave it on the street! Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood residents paid between $20 and $40, as a donation, for their neighborhood association to haul away their trash and junk in early October. Elizabeth McPherson, Chair of the Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association (CKNA), observed that the Dumpsters have never filled so quickly. "We're definitely going to have to look at how we can up capacity for next year!"

That's not all. CKNA also collected six couch-sized bags of Styrofoam to be recycled — a material that curbside recycling services usually won't accept.

Then there were the reusable household items. "We sent an entire truckload of furniture and household donations to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore!" McPherson told THE BEE.

Nearby, a volunteer with litter-cleanup nonprofit SOLVE handed out reflective vests, gallon bags, gloves, and "reacher sticks" to a dozen neighborhood residents who had signed up to collect rubbish from the surrounding streets. They returned with 20 bags full of trash.

PAIGE WALLACE - Creston-Kenilworth resident Stephanie Hollar picked up litter on S.E. Holgate Boulevard and nearby, as part of a SOLVE-sponsored addition to the annual neighborhood cleanup on October 8th. Sabrina Perry used her reacher to pick up candy wrappers and cigarette butts as she walked along Holgate with her dog, Loki. Over the last few years she's heard lots of grumbling about trash on Portland's streets, and she doesn't like seeing it, either. "Everyone has the right to complain," Perry allowed, "But then you either have to shut up and deal with it, or do something about it. So I'm trying to do something about it."

Meanwhile over at the Dumpsters, drivers donated $20 to $40 for their loads as they dropped them off, depending on the size of what they brought. CKNA raised nearly $2,000, as a result. McPherson said this cleanup is the group's main fundraiser for the year, and all the money received is reinvested into community events, like Movies in the Park and neighborhood picnics.

Michael Sylvester took on the heavy job of lifting unusable furniture, appliances, and other large trash into the Dumpsters. He remarked that this annual cleanup can always use more volunteers, and he hopes more of his neighbors will sign up next year — to reap the rewards of community action. "It's just a way to give back," he explained. "It's part of our duty as humans to help others."

Volunteers repeatedly expressed how good it felt to participate. "It's just a lovely thing to get together with your neighbors, and try and make the neighborhood better," commented Kara Bredahl, who was helping with the litter pickup part of the day.

Even the organizers had a good time. "It's always a lot of fun! You get to meet your neighbors," McPherson grinned, in between telling donors where to set down their microwaves and deck furniture. "It's doing a concrete thing to help people out, and to clean up the neighborhood."


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