PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — SOLVE’s Downtown Portland Cleanup Days began last year after the downtown area was left largely vacant by the pandemic. The homeless crisis was more visible than ever and nightly protests took over city streets.
But by September 2020, many businesses had had enough. That’s when they joined together with SOLVE to start cleaning up the streets.
“We had over 500 people register for that particular cleanup. And that was September 3, 2020. And now there have been monthly cleanups, ongoing,” said George Schweitzer, the managing director of the Benson Hotel.
He said it’s encouraging to see people taking pride in Portland. “It’s amazing the number of people that are local that get involved.”
Kris Carrico, the CEO of SOLVE, said none of it is possible without volunteers.
“We’ve collected nearly 50,000 pounds of trash with 5000 volunteers,” Carrico told KOIN 6 News. “They are really the backbone of the organization. They are how we get the work done.”
The next monthly cleanup is Wednesday, September 15.
“We have at four different locations spread out across the downtown core so that we can touch most city blocks,” she said. “Each of the events is about two hours long, but people can drop in and drop out whenever they feel like it. If you only have 15 minutes, we’ll take 15 minutes. If you just want to clean up your block, just come and check in and we’ll give you the supplies and just drop everything back off. “
It’s important that everyone get involved, take pride in Portland and clean up the city streets to help restore our clean and green reputation.
“The lodging industry here in Portland has really suffered,” Carrico said. “We want them to feel like they’re supported and to get people back downtown and see that it is safe and vibrant.”
“It takes a village,” Schweitzer said, “to maintain a city.”