Cleanup of Oregon Coast Finds Plenty of Wacky
(Oregon Coast) - 4,300 volunteers later, the Oregon coast is some 60,000 pounds of trash lighter.
In spite of seriously wet and stormy conditions, the 24th annual SOLV Great Oregon Spring Beach Cleanup scoured the coast of tons of garbage and debris, making the state’s legendary beaches even more pristine.
362 miles of coastline were combed over by a special breed of volunteer beachcomber, who also turned up plenty of wacky finds.
"Once again, our citizens have demonstrated their pride in this great state by turning out to preserve and enhance Oregon's beaches,” said Dianna Smiley, SOLV's Executive Director. “We extend our special thanks to our partners, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and the local garbage haulers all along the coast who help make this event possible."
Of course it was the oddities and surprises that made the day for many.
Among the sandy finds: a pair of binoculars, a fishing permit from Alaska, an empty piggy bank, a mannequin foot, a work boot and a construction hard hat. Hard-working volunteers also pulled in some larger items such as a TV, four boat refrigerators, a 300-pound chest freezer, 25 ft. of cattle fencing, crab traps, and a couple of large fishing nets.
Beach Cleanup Coordinator Diana Bartlett said there was lots of plastic packing tape, among other strange and common day finds. “Pipes, flip flops, light bulbs, plastic bottles, a propane tank; a large fish sorting tub from a fishing boat, lawn chairs, tires and a rims, some scrap metal, and a plastic truck liner,” she said.
Scott Duncan, zone captain for the area that included Pacific City and Neskowin, said there was quite a bit of rope and Styrofoam as usual, but not a lot of floats, as is often found.
“We found two parts of one porta-potty,” Duncan said. “One was on one beach, and the other on another about five miles away.”
Randy Painter, zone captain for the Seaside/Cannon Beach area, said there were a lot of cigarette butts and a few lawn chairs lurking in the sand in that stretch.
Charlie Plybon, who oversaw the Newport area as well as served as the main coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, said plastic was the big problem. That was something the Surfrider Foundation was trying to raise awareness about, partially by providing reusable bags to all the participants.
“It’s easy to eliminate from our lives without any major burdens,” he said.
He added that sheet metal was popping up an awful lot, which was somewhat unusual.
The television was found at Beverly Beach just north of Newport, and an 18-foot chunk of sewer pipe from what appeared to be a private home was discovered in that area as well.
The weirdest thing wasn’t well reported, however.
“From Agate Beach, someone brought in a Calvin Klein bag full of brand new underwear,” Plybon said. “We think that was probably stolen from somewhere.”
The wind was wild at times and the day was a soaker. Duncan said wind gusts were a good 20 miles an hour sometimes.
“We had a tent at Winema Beach for volunteers,” Duncan said. “If that hadn’t been staked down really well it would have flown away. The wind still bent the metal frame of the tent.”
Organizers say the economy didn’t appear to play any part, and even the sideways weather didn’t deter many from showing up. Last year, the spring cleanup was hindered in numbers by snow on the coast range highways. This year, most reported greater numbers in their areas.
Duncan said his section was about the same numbers as last year, while Painter said the hearty souls were greater in number, sometimes by over 100 more from last year's figures.
There was the usual group of 30 students from OSU extension group from Salem helping out, among many other veterans, Painter said. He had about 500 in the Seaside area and 350 volunteers in Cannon Beach. There were about 320 in Seaside last year.
Oregon Governor Tom McCall founded SOLV in 1969 to address litter and vandalism problems. Since then, the organization’s mission has expanded to reach every county in the state and brings together government agencies, businesses and individuals in programs and projects to enhance the livability of Oregon.
In the 25 years since the Oregon Beach Cleanup began, nearly 185,000 SOLV volunteers have worked to remove nearly 1,200 tons of trash from the Oregon coast.