April 21, 2021 — Earth Day events in Florence began this weekend as some community members were able to show their support for a day specifically dedicated to recognizing and acting to clean up the planet.
Oregon-based organization SOLVE (Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism) held a series of clean-up events on Saturday, which included the North and South jetties of the Siuslaw River and the beach by Driftwood Shores Resort. There were teams deployed at each location to walk the beach collecting and properly disposing of solid waste.
Jon Tipple, the area coordinator for SOLVE, said he was pleased with the turnout at his post at South Jetty.
“We had about 30 people that signed in and they collected about 40 pounds of trash. We are lucky here because we have a number of beach clean-up events during the year, so there is not as much trash as we get at other locations along the coast,” he said. “We just want to thank everyone that came out to help, it is great to have that kind of support for our environment.”
Volunteers at the three locations reported remarkably clean beaches and the total amount of solid waste collected was approximately 100 pounds, gathered by about 100 individuals.
In addition, SOLVE held similar events all along the Oregon coast and reported wide-ranging support for the clean-up, despite COVID-related fears and restrictions.
Larissa Gordon, communications coordinator for SOLVE, recapped the weekend clean-up.
“On April 17, a reported 2,471 volunteers took to the outdoors, improving the environment through litter cleanups, beach cleanups, invasive plant species removal events, and native tree and shrub plantings,” she said. “This was truly a statewide effort, with volunteer projects happening from Astoria to Bandon and Medford to Pendleton.”
According to Gordon, in one day across Oregon, more than 22,256 pounds of trash were collected and 8,810 square feet of invasive species were removed by SOLVE volunteers.
“While most projects occurred on April 17, some Oregon Spring Cleanup projects occurred the weekend before, and will continue next week through Earth Day and into the weekend,” she added.
The first Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup was held in 1986 and the first SOLVE IT for Earth Day event was held in 1990. Together, these two events have helped remove over 17 million pounds of litter and debris from Oregon’s urban and natural landscapes.
The statewide SOLVE event was funded by Portland General Electric (PGE) and Dave Robertson, vice president of public affairs at PGE and a SOLVE Founder’s Circle member.
Robertson said he was also quite pleased with the Earth Day events and reinforced his company’s commitment to the effort to clean-up discarded Oregon solid waste.
“PGE customers and employees are passionate about preserving the health of Oregon’s environment, which is why we enthusiastically support SOLVE’s Oregon Spring Cleanup,” he said. “Events like these celebrate our commitment to building cleaner, greener communities through PGE Project Zero. It’s wonderful to be part of an Earth Day event that engages volunteers from across the state, from Central Oregon to the Coast, all in an effort to make our state a cleaner and healthier place.”