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News / Clark County News

Cleanup on Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail

Volunteers fill 53 garbage bags with litter as Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, SOLVE Oregon team up

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter
Published: September 17, 2016, 8:59pm
5 Photos
Christina Hubbard of Vancouver drops trash into a bag during a waterfront cleanup event Saturday morning along the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail in Vancouver. The effort was organized by SOLVE Oregon and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Christina Hubbard of Vancouver drops trash into a bag during a waterfront cleanup event Saturday morning along the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail in Vancouver. The effort was organized by SOLVE Oregon and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. (Samuel Wilson for the Columbian) Photo Gallery

Volunteers cleaning up the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail filled 53 garbage bags in three hours Saturday morning and hauled away a tire, a motorcycle jacket and a Buddha statue.

About a dozen volunteers in rain jackets scoured the stretch of trail from Who Song and Larry’s restaurant to the condominium complex to the east, picking up beer cans, soda bottles, fishing line and various other trash littering the waterfront. They also cleaned up tarps and tents in abandoned camps and removed eight hypodermic needles, said Joe Morse, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

“We still got a lot done, especially considering we didn’t have a ton of people and it was wet outside,” said Morse, who organized the cleanup. “The turnout was amazing considering the massive amount of rain we got.”

The cleanup event was a collaboration between the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and SOLVE Oregon, a statewide nonprofit that organizes more than 1,000 cleanup and restoration projects throughout the state. The organization also partners with local organizations throughout Southwest Washington. Vancouver Police Department was also involved in the effort, providing a sweep of the area to ensure it was safe for volunteers.

Despite the drizzly, fall-like weather, most people who registered in advance did show up to volunteer Saturday morning. A handful of people skipped the event, which is pretty typical of rainy day cleanups, said Joy Hawkins, a program coordinator with SOLVE.

“I’m always impressed by people in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “They’re very dedicated.”

Susan and Howard Quang were among the volunteers. They live in Portland but own property in Vancouver as well.

Susan Quang has volunteered with SOLVE in the past and enjoys visiting Fort Vancouver, so Saturday’s event was the perfect opportunity for her to give back, she said.

“I am a strong believer in living green,” she said. “So volunteering with SOLVE is a good way to express my love and concern for the environment.”

Saturday’s event wasn’t the first time SOLVE and Fort Vancouver have partnered to clean up the waterfront, but Morse hopes to make the collaboration happen more often.

“I want to make this more than annual,” he said. “I would like to make this happen once a season. … I would like us to keep our park clean and make the community a nice place.”

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Columbian Health Reporter