Though the Johnson Creek Cleanup celebrates its 10th anniversary on August 26, previous generations had neighborhood cleanups going back at least to the early 1970s.
“There was a group called the Oregon Yacht Club that started the cleanups,” recalls Don Carlson. “My company put a team together to improve the corporate image around the time the bottle bill was first passed.
Carlson, a longtime JCWC supporter, is retired from Continental Can Company, one of the largest national beverage container manufacturing companies back when Oregon became the first state in the union in 1971 to pass the bottle bill.
“The cleanups ran for several years,“ says Carlson. “Usually in March or April when the water was high enough so you could float down Johnson Creek on inner tubes.”
Dozens of volunteers would put in near Southeast Flavel and I-205 and take out near the intersection of Johnson Creek Blvd and Harney Drive. Along the way, they’d pick up whatever they could find. Sometimes, they’d have to stop and get help from the shore to haul out the big stuff.
Carlson laughs. “We found washing machines, shopping carts, refrigerators,” he adds.
In the past nine years, we’ve hopefully removed most of the “legacy” big stuff. Johnson Creek is a lot cleaner because of the 130-160 volunteers who turn out for a morning each August–and their predecessors in the early 1970s! Interested?