PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Audrey McCall Beach opens at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge during the next several weeks there won’t be any trash here. It’ll be clean thanks to the efforts of one man and an organization striving to change the face of homelessness.
Scott Adkins walks the shores of Audrey McCall beach as he has for many months picking up trash. He has been houseless for the last 2 years but found a sense of purpose in part by keeping the beach clean.
He’s found all sorts of stuff: shoes, clothing, jewelry, a lot of broken glass and cigarette butts. And a lot of drug needles.
“If this stops somebody from coming down here it would break my heart,” Adkins said.
He’s a different face of the houseless community, working now in coordination with Ground Score, a non-profit organizing groups of can-and-bottle collectors, Dumpster divers and other low-income individuals who reuse and recycle as a means of survival.
The group now pays Scott $15 per hour to clean up public spaces inundated with trash.
Barbie Weber of Ground Score told KOIN 6 News employing homeless people to pick up the city is good for everybody and it might well help eliminate negative stereotypes people associate with homelessness.
“We naturally pick up trash we don’t like,” Weber said. “So a lot of people in our community have already been doing what we’re talking about.”
“The fact is I don’t leave anything,” Adkins said. “I pick up everything, everywhere I go. It’s just something that I do. I don’t like our city trashy. I’m a member of the city and the community and my name is Scott and I’m going to be here and I’m grateful.”