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5,500 volunteers join in Earth Day cleanup event


Oregonians demonstrated their commitment to a clean and healthy environment by joining together in projects across the state on Saturday for SOLVE’s 30 th annual SOLVE IT for Earth Day.

This event began in 1990, first focusing on cleanups in only Portland area neighborhoods. It has since grown into a statewide event and has become one of the largest Earth Day events in the nation, with more than 15 million pounds of litter and invasive plants removed over the last three decades.

This year, over 5,500 volunteers collected an estimated 49,000 pounds of trash from over 170 sites including neighborhoods, parks, school grounds and natural areas. Interesting finds from the cleanups included shopping carts, metal fences, a ceiling fan, and microplastics. In addition, invasive, non-native plants were cleared from 4 acres, and 1,100 native trees and shrubs were planted.

Kris Carico, SOLVE’s CEO, remarked, “This year marks SOLVE’s 50 th anniversary and I’m thrilled to see SOLVE IT for Earth Day stronger than ever. It is amazing what can be accomplished when community members come together and work towards a common goal of caring for Oregon. The numbers always impress me, and it makes me extremely happy to be leading such a committed group of volunteers.”

Presenting Sponsor, Portland General Electric (PGE), and its employees, have been a long-time supporter of SOLVE and its mission. PGE employees, their families and friends joined SOLVE and KOIN as they pitched in at the PGE Springwater Earth Day event in Southeast Portland.

“PGE’s long-standing partnership with SOLVE aligns nicely with our core values of taking care of the environment and contributing to the sustainability of our beautiful state,” said Dave Robertson, vice president, Public Policy, Portland General Electric and member of SOLVE’s Founder’s Circle. “SOLVE IT Earth Day projects are just one example of the many volunteer events our employees, and their friends and families are participating in during the month of April, in celebration of not only Earth Month, but also National Volunteer Month.”

There were project highlights throughout the state.

PGE employees, along with dozens of community members removed 360 pounds of trash from the Springwater Trail in SE Portland. The new Director of Portland Parks & Recreation, Adena Long, spoke to volunteers before the event and thanked them for their contribution to the community. Community organizations, local businesses, families, and community members all came together in the Central Eastside District in Portland to clean up the neighborhood and make sure litter did not reach the nearby Willamette River. Over 150 volunteers participated this year, removing an amazing 1,700 pounds of trash. In Eugene, volunteers took care of Alton Baker Park, ensuring this beautiful community asset was clean and healthy for Earth Day. 68 volunteers removed 1,100 pounds of trash from the park. In Eastern Oregon outside Nyssa, 10 amazing volunteers removed 180 tires from public lands. This hard work not only beautified the area, it also helped prevent harmful materials from harming water quality.
Along with PGE, other event sponsors included: Metro, Clean Water Services, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Washington County, Oregon Bottle Drop, Comcast, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Coca-Cola, City of Beaverton, Genentech, Advantis Credit Union, Republic Services, KUNI BMW, SOLE financial, K103fm, and KOIN.

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