PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- From Sept. 9-17, families, neighbors, community organizations, and individual nature enthusiasts across Oregon joined the 2023 SOLVE Beach & Riverside Cleanup in partnership with Subaru of Portland.
More than 1,500 volunteers came together to clean up litter and debris, remove invasive plant species, and restore natural habitats across Oregon's beaches, waterways, and neighborhoods.
At over 70 event sites spanning from the Oregon Coast to Portland, through the Willamette Valley, as well as Central and Southern Oregon, volunteers picked up an estimate of 20,000 pounds of litter and marine debris while wrapping up summer under blue skies. Since the event’s inception in 1986, more than 2.5 million pounds of litter and marine debris have been collected across Oregon.
“This year, it is not only about the numbers though”, says Kris Carico, SOLVE CEO. “We are truly impressed with the caliber of events. The event organizers have excelled in uniting their communities, creating days filled with family enjoyment, educational components, and meaningful activities. For example, an environmental justice-focused children’s entertainment group (Your Song My Song) organized a family event with live music at the Central Coast of Oregon with their local art foundation followed by a joint beach cleanup. And the North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection celebrated the opening of their Astoria chapter with the screening of “Last of the ancient rainforests” documentary and an open discussion before their beach cleanup event.”
During 25 restoration events, SOLVE volunteers removed invasives such as English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry. During a habitat restoration in West Linn, 50 volunteers including Portland Thorns players filled a 30 cubic yard drop-box with invasive species. Neighbors came together to pull weeds and mulch their community parks.
We had youth groups and girl scouts getting outside, as well as students developing an Eco Student Field Study Restoration Site together with their teachers. These are only a few examples of creative events that were organized by engaged event leaders who made a huge impact on the environment and their local communities.
The Beach & Riverside Cleanup has become an annual tradition to clean waterways from source to sea and create a sense of environmental stewardship. This is especially important as approximately 80% of all marine debris on the beaches and in the ocean comes from inland sources, such as rivers and street drains. With the rainy season approaching, litter can easily make its way to our sewer system, then to the Willamette, and ultimately end up in the Pacific Ocean, where fragile ecosystems exist.
This makes the annual Beach & Riverside Cleanup not only a cherished, but highly impactful group effort and the reason why SOLVE proudly joins forces with the Ocean Conservancy Group to contribute to a global endeavor aimed at preserving our coastlines on September 16th, International Coastal Cleanup Day.
In addition to providing over 1,500 volunteers with supplies and 72 event leaders with organizational support, from registration to disposal, SOLVE’s entire staff was out as well to lead events and support our local communities.
SOLVE supports volunteer projects year-round. This year's Beach & Riverside Cleanup was in partnership with Subaru of Portland. Additional support from OnPoint Community Credit Union, Bamboo Sushi, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Metro, BottleDrop, Knife River, KOIN, Fred Meyer, Chevron, Clean Water Services, Tillamook County Creamery Association, US Bank, and Tektronix made this Oregon tradition possible in 2023.
SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information.