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When it's cleanup time in Woodstock, it may be time to call in some professional help taking it all away

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - This enthusiastic crew from the local franchise of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK cleanup business, arrived to help pick up litter, and then haul away the bags from the first monthly Woodstock Neighborhood Litter Cleanup.  Shown from left: Ethan Day, Draven Burton, and General Manager Robert Christensen. Fourteen people showed up on Thursday, September 15th, at the Woodstock Community Center to get equipment for an evening neighborhood cleanup. The nonprofit "Adopt One Block" provided free grabbers, buckets, white garbage bags, and gloves for all volunteers.

Community volunteers chose one of twelve suggested routes between S.E. 52nd and Chavez Boulevard (formerly 39th), and from Holgate Boulevard to Duke Street, and then set out to their chosen area between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Participants were required to be back at the Community Center with their bags of litter and trash by 7:30 p.m., because the professional cleaning franchise "1-800-GOT-JUNK" had offered to pick up and take away all of the trash bags at that time.

But actually, it turned out that the business was offering even more than that! Organizers from the Woodstock Neighborhood Association were a little surprised when three "1-800-GOT-JUNK" employees showed up at 5:30 to join them in the effort to pick up litter and trash!

When THE BEE asked them if it was hard to come over after work to help the Woodstock neighborhood volunteers, Draven Burton — one of the business' employees — responded, "No, this is our down time. Helping neighborhoods, and interacting, is good."

This partnership began when the General Manager of the cleaning franchise in Portland, Robert Christensen, looked around at all of the litter on Portland's city streets and wondered what he could do — as a private citizen — to help. When he learned about the local nonprofit "Adopt One Block", he called it and talked with Frank Moscow, its founder.

"Frank said that people needed help disposing of the trash they were picking up. So we came up with a plan to see if we could raise a little money to help cover the disposal cost, and I'm happy to report lots of people have helped — by picking up trash, and monetarily," remarked Christensen.

Moscow recalled, "We found each other as kindred spirits, each working in our own way to make the Portland area what it can and should be. As we started talking, we realized we could come together in a way that really would make a difference."

So, for the past year and a half, the two have helped neighborhood groups who have cleanups (as well as individual Adopt One Block volunteers) to dispose of the bags collected. The result, said Moscow, is, "There have been many hundreds of cleanup events that the team at '1-800-GOT-JUNK' has completed for us." Christensen added, "As of today we have had over 400 litter pickups, and we have removed over 40 tons of trash from our streets — all of it collected by our neighbors, cleaning up 'out their front door'." Sixteen bags were filled at this particular Woodstock Neighborhood Cleanup.

Christensen manifested his passion for helping clean up communities with this comment: "I'm an unwavering optimist, and I know that 'many hands make short work'. Together we are making our city a little tidier every day."

If you'd like to help out, the next monthly Woodstock neighborhood cleanup, most likely on a Saturday morning, will be announced later on the Woodstock Neighborhood Association website —

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