By Allen Field

On the morning of June 16, approximately 100 orange-vested volunteers fanned out from Central Christian Church on SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd. walking to Hawthorne Blvd. and Division. Their mission: to pick up litter, cigarette butts and sharps and to clean off graffiti from utility poles and boxes, from SE 29th Ave. to 52nd Ave.

Another team of volunteers worked at 26th and Clinton.

In two hours, volunteers picked up ninety-nine bags of litter, approximately fifteen to twenty pounds of cigarette butts, and eight sharps.

After the trash was dropped off  at designated locations on Hawthorne, Division and Clinton, Metro’s RID (Regional Illegal Dump) truck collected the bags later in the day.

Then volunteers were treated to delicious food provided by Aprisa Mexican Cuisine and Pepino’s Mexican Grill. Many prizes donated by local businesses were raffled off.

Similar events occurred simultaneously in the Mt. Scott Arleta, Lents, Foster Powell, Brentwood-Darlington neighborhoods, focusing on SE 82nd Ave and nearby streets.  Metro reports that over 1,000 lbs. of litter were collected in this event.

The event started as a project of the Richmond Neighborhood Association’s Tag Busters (graffiti removal team). Through a partnership with KINK FM radio, Metro, the City of Portland Graffiti Abatement office, and SOLVE, the event grew into a five neighborhood event under the banner:  Paint the Town Green.

For the Hawthorne/Division/26th & Clinton event, the RNA partnered with the Sunnyside and Hosford Abernethy (HAND) neighborhood associations and with SE Uplift. SE Uplift assisted all the neighborhoods involved.

This was the first event of this type involving many neighborhoods focused on cleaning up litter and graffiti.  It’s hoped that the event will eventually be enlarged to include Belmont, Stark, more of Clinton, and maybe Powell too.

Thanks to New Seasons Market, Fred Meyer, Pepino‘s Mexican Grill, Aprisa Mexican Cuisine, Imperfect Produce, Grand Central Bakery, and Petit Provence for providing food, drink and snacks for the volunteers.

Ruby Jewel provided ice cream sandwich prizes for the cigarette-butt collecting contest. Graffiti Removal Services offered graffiti-removal training.

The following businesses for donated raffle prizes: Mink, Imelda’s, Kids at Heart, Pizza Oasis, Portland Bicycle Emporium, Marino’s, Rudy’s Barbershop, Townshend’s Teas, Stella Taco, KaTi Thai, For Paws, Hawthorne Gardens, Ebb & Bean, Saint Honore Bakery, KINK FM, Presents of Mind, Collage, Xico, Roosevelt’s Terrariums, and Fyberworks Boutique.