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Sep 17, 2020

Removing trash, removing barriers

On August 22, 2020, we held the 13th annual Johnson Creek Clean-Up. There were a lot of changes to make due to COVID, but we also were elated to have the help of new community groups in the effort, and to see a lot of thought and care from folks on making sure everyone was safe throughout the event.

With the help of 111 volunteers (all meeting at separate sites with small teams), we filled 216 trash bags, picked up 5 tires, 9 shopping carts and 2 mattresses. All told, it was 2.17 tons of trash! Smaller than normal, but we overcame a lot of barriers and still made a huge change together.

Because we weren’t able to get into the water (because social distancing, teamwork, and in-stream balance were incompatible), we focused on land-based clean-ups this year. That meant even more interactions between volunteers and houseless folks. Because of this, we were stoked to work with Ground Score, an association of environmental workers who create and fill low-barrier waste management jobs. Ground Score is collectively organized and seeks to be radically inclusive, prioritizing work opportunities for those facing work and housing insecurity. They helped our volunteers interact safely and respectfully with campers that we met along the way. Learning from Ground Score leaders was a big perk for our volunteers this year!

We are also happy to be able to work with Central City Concern, a nonprofit in Portland serving adults and families impacted by homelessness, poverty, and addiction. They sent a team with trucks and workers to help transport the trash from the sites to the dumpsters, a very crucial job!

Thank you to Bruce MacGregor and KLiK Concepts for the awesome photographs above.

Thanks to all the volunteers that came out this weekend and our project partners for making this event a success! Johnson Creek Watershed Council would like to thank the Autzen Foundation, Clackamas Water Environment Services, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District, Portland Parks & Recreation, Solve, Central City Concern, Ground Score Association, Lents Youth Initiative, Sunset Garbage Collection, Hoodview Disposal and Recycling, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, and the Overland Park Coalition for their partnership and support. Also a big thanks to the Mintkeski Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation and PGE. Thanks for working with us to create a brighter future for Johnson Creek!