County invites public to adopt roads

Volunteers sought to fill roles of former maintenance staff

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Stretches of roadsides in unincorporated Clark County are up for adoption.

Applications can be submitted to Clark County Public Works to volunteer to adopt a road section. Volunteers must make a two-year commitment to pick up litter at least three times a year. The county may also approve weeding, pruning and removing graffiti, said Karen Llewellyn, volunteer coordinator for Clark County Public Works, in a news release.

She said 13 stretches of road, each approximately two miles long, have been approved for adoption.

The county will take suggestions for other road segments that need some attention, said Jeff Mize, spokesman for Clark County Public Works. Suggestions will be vetted for sight distance and other safety considerations.

Adopt-a-Road programs aren’t new, but this is a first for Clark County.

The county decided to turn to volunteers — hey, even hiring a county corrections crew to pick up roadside trash costs $450 a day — in light of budget cuts.

At the start of 2009, the county’s four-member vegetation team, which tends 1,100 miles of roadsides, was cut in half as the county reduced its budget for median and roadside vegetation management.

The county will provide supplies and equipment for volunteers, Llewellyn said, and post signs recognizing the volunteers.

Llewellyn said that equipment includes bright-colored safety vests and “Volunteer Litter Crew Ahead” signs to alert drivers.

Also, volunteers are expected not to touch “car batteries, petroleum products

and chemical spills, heavy or unwieldy objects, dead animals, broken glass, needles and drug paraphernalia or any unidentified questionable objects,” according to a list of rules.

Volunteers will also avoid work in peak traffic hours and construction areas.

Roadsides up for adoption include portions of Northeast 20th Avenue, Northeast Padden Parkway and St. Johns Road.

To see a complete list of adoptable county roadsides and fill out an application, go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks/roads/adopt.html or call Llewellyn at 360-397-6118, ext. 1627.

The city of Vancouver, which has cut grounds maintenance staff by more than 50 percent since 2009, also welcomes volunteers interested in improving the look of roadsides.

To volunteer within the city, call volunteer coordinator Hailey Heath at 360-487-8316.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.