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Oregon Calls Out to Volunteers to Clean Up Its Coast
(Oregon Coast) - The annual SOLV Great Oregon Fall Beach Cleanup will take place on September 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oregonians from every corner of the state are invited and encouraged to join SOLV in this nationally recognized cleanup.
Thousands of volunteers are needed to participate at 44 sites up and down the Oregon Coast. It is easy to volunteer. Just check in, pick up a litter bag, and head down to the beach to help spruce up the coast for wildlife, visitors and all Oregonians.
This opportunity is always prime for finding some interesting objects and it can result in some unusual ways to have fun, according to one regular at the beach clean-ups.
SOLV is a front-runner in the clean beach movement that began in 1984, kickstarting an environmental trend that has blossomed around the nation in various forms. Since then, SOLV has worked to collect over 1,000 tons of trash with the help of nearly 175,000 dedicated volunteers. With every foot of Oregon's beautiful 363-mile coastline being scoured, SOLV is hopeful for another record-setting event.
"Marine debris takes a heavy toll on the environment, wildlife and even the local economy," said Pamela Sery, SOLV's Beach Cleanup Coordinator. "We hope everyone who enjoys the beach’s splendor takes their environmental duty seriously and joins us in this great event."
Groups of 20 or more are asked to register in advance. Visit www.solv.org or call SOLV at 503-844-9571 or toll free in Oregon, 1-800-333-SOLV for a list of registration sites. SOLV suggests volunteers bring gloves, wear sturdy shoes, and be safe while having a fun time removing marine debris and litter.
Newport beach expert Guy DiTorrice has been a part of these clean ups even before SOLV held them. While living in Eugene in the 80’s, he was part of clean up efforts in Florence put together by divers from Eugene.
He eventually became SOLV's Lincoln County Liaison after moving to the area in the 90’s. He urged others to join in the scouring.
"The twice-yearly beach clean ups provide a special focused day for folks to come to the coast and help pick-up the flotsam and jetsam from other folks and the sea," DiTorrice said.
After so many years of involvement, DiTorrice has seen the finds change.
"The most interesting thing in the past 25 years is seeing the changes in what you find out there," DiTorrice said. “Years ago it was empty cans of chewing tobacco floating out of the surf, changing to plastic water bottles. That’s probably the largest volume of items found on the beaches I scour.”
Fun finds are plastic toys, DiTorrice said. “From little tractor trucks to sand pails and plastic shovels. Shoes and all varieties - but never in pairs - occasionally dot the beach.”
DiTorrice said there’s less and less fishing line
over the last few years. But more “whale burps” or “beach
balls” are being found. These occur naturally, and are made of compressed
grass and other floating debris – often so compact they are impossible
to break and hard as bricks.
He’s also noticed quite a bit of trimmed and debarked wooden trees showing up on the beaches in recent years. “It looks like a boat might have dumped a load of future poles offshore,” DiTorrice said. “Many locals have been dragging them off the beach and cutting them up.”
Interesting finds aside, there are some depressing trends. “At a time when less and less picnic debris is being left on the beach, there are more and more rolled up disposable diapers,” DiTorrice said. “Not exactly the best examples to be setting by parents with young children.”
The SOLV beach clean ups are often like one big party on the beach – but with the purpose being to clean things up and not leave anything behind. There’s often an atmosphere of camaraderie and frivolity.
This lead to one unforgettable SOLV picnic a few years
ago, where Portland General Electric hosted a beach clean-up/employee
picnic at Gleneden Beach State Park, on the central coast.
DiTorrice is also known as “Oregon Fossil Guy,” giving tours of central coast beaches and showing people where to find fossils just lying around or embedded in the rocks. He often utilizes this opportunity to continue the work of SOLV year round.
He encourages others to not just be vigilant about leaving only footprints when you head to the beaches, but suggests they too take a little extra care as he does.
"Of course, along with taking my rake and bucket to collect rocks and fossils throughout the year, there's always a handful of SOLV bags for picking up when items appear," DiTorrice said. "While the twice-annual beach clean up is great - and hundreds of tons of stuff gets hauled off - it's always nice to be doing that ongoing landscape maintenance of the beach."
Major sponsors for this year’s SOLV Great Oregon Fall Beach Cleanup are AAA Oregon/Idaho, Alaskan Brewing Company, Mt. Hood Beverage, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Fred Meyer, Portland General Electric, and Wells Fargo Bank. Coordinating sponsors for this event are the Local Coast Haulers and the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
The beach cleanup is also supported by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. Media sponsors are KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8 and KPOJ.
Founded in 1969 by Oregon Governor Tom McCall to address litter and vandalism problems, SOLV has expanded to reach every county in the state and to bring together government agencies, businesses and individuals in programs and projects to enhance the livability of Oregon. Because of this expansion SOLV no longer calls itself “Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism” and has adopted the acronym, SOLV, as its official name.
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