By Larissa Gordon

From Astoria to Brookings, Baker City to Medford, over 5,500 dedicated volunteers came out in full swing, Saturday, September 21, to take care of Oregon as part of the annual SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup, sponsored by the Oregon Lottery.

This year, an estimated 28,261 pounds of trash and marine debris were collected from more than one hundred and forty project sites including beaches, parks, waterways, urban spaces and natural areas across the state.

Beach cleanups took place along the entire Oregon Coast, from Astoria to Brookings, attracting thousands of visitors and locals alike to aid in the fight against marine debris. The most common items found during the event were tiny plastic pieces, cigarette butts, discarded fishing rope, glass, and plastic bottles.

Portland’s Central Eastside’s Cleanup gave a new definition to “deep clean” with ten divers (from Adventures with a Purpose) diving into the Willamette River, retrieving bikes, scooters and countless skateboards. Recovered items were loaded onto a barge and brought to shore, where volunteers lined up to unload.

Volunteers in the Central Eastside neighborhood cleaned litter and installed placards on storm drains, reminding citizens that these drains flow directly into the river. An astounding 3,000 pounds of litter was collected by one hundred and seventy five volunteers during this project.

Volunteers turned out in Salem at Wallace Marine Park for a litter cleanup. In total, more than seventy volunteers picked up over five hundred pounds of litter before it could pollute the Willamette River.

Cleaning up near inland waterways, especially developed areas, is an important, but often overlooked step in combatting the marine debris crisis.

“We are grateful for the thousands of Oregonians who participated in this year’s SOLVE Beach & Riverside Cleanup,” said Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack.

“A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered at one of the over-one hundred SOLVE project sites across Oregon. You played a key role in helping make SOLVE’s Beach & Riverside Cleanup successful.”

“It amazes me just how many people come out to clean up Oregon each year during SOLVE’s Beach & Riverside Cleanup. It makes me proud to say I am an Oregonian, and to belong to such a caring community,” said SOLVE’s CEO, Kris Carico.

“If it weren’t for the volunteers, project leaders, beach captains, and sponsors who are willing to step up and get the work done, none of this progress would be possible.”

SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brin

SOLVE volunteers clean up the Willamette River

gs Oregonians together to improve the environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Visit solveoregon.org for more information.