Oregon beaches are ready for summer vacation and tourism with the support of more than 4,800 volunteers who removed nearly 90,000 pounds of litter and marine debris from the Oregon coast today. SOLVE, an Oregon-based nonprofit aimed at keeping our state clean and healthy, organized the Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup, presented by AAA Oregon, designed to remove trash from Oregon’s 363-mile coastline.
The beach cleanups are a bi-annual tradition dating back to 1984. In the last 32 years nearly 250,000 SOLVE volunteers have removed an estimated 3.3 million pounds of trash.
“Marine debris is one of the biggest issues facing our oceans and beaches,” said Maureen Fisher, CEO of SOLVE. “From a single bottle cap to discarded fishing gear, every piece of trash picked up today has a tremendous impact on the health of Oregon’s wildlife and coastal communities.”
“The combined effort of our partners, beach captains, and the thousands of volunteers who came out today is truly inspiring,” added Fisher.
Due to a strong winter storm season, the majority of the debris removed today had washed in from the ocean and onto Oregon beaches. Items ranged from large fishing rope, dozens of crates and buoys to glass and plastic bottles from Japan.
Other common items found during the event were tiny bits of plastic, cigarette butts, and bottle caps, harmful to both marine life and shorebirds. Unique items found by volunteers included wire fencing on Bayocean Spit, a note in a glass bottle in Port Orford, an aluminum boat at the Oregon Dunes, and half of a kayak at the Siltcoos Outlet in Florence.
There were also many inspiring stories from across the coast.
- Along the remote Bayocean Spit beaches near Cape Meares, a group of dedicated volunteers put on their hiking shoes and removed over 25 bags of debris that had washed in from the ocean.
- At the Sand Lake Recreation Area, the Sand Lake Duners and U.S. Forest Service led a group of 79 volunteers to remove nearly 2,000 pounds of trash. To celebrate the cleanup effort, volunteers were treated to a potluck, raffle, and Easter egg hunt!
- Volunteers set out to clean the beach with the Cascade Packgoat Club at Beverly Beach. The goats, packed down with discarded ropes and buoys, have been helping SOLVE clean the beach for over a decade!
- Trash wasn’t the only thing that was found on the beach. A few lucky volunteers found custom glass floats donated by local artisans along the central and south coast.
Event Presenting Sponsor, AAA Oregon, hosted a volunteer photo contest and joined four of the cleanup sites with over 50 employees.
“Taking care of our beautiful state has always been a priority for AAA and our employees,” said Tim Morgan, President and CEO of AAA Oregon, and a native Oregonian. “We are proud to join fellow Oregonians from across the state and continue the annual tradition of cleaning up our beaches for present and future generations alike.”
Many other event sponsors also joined cleanup efforts. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department coordinated more than half of the 45 check-in sites, and helped haul thousands of pounds of trash. Local transfer stations and coastal counties once again generously donated their services up and down the coast. Major Sponsor, Fred Meyer, brought over 100 volunteers to the Seaside cleanup, joining AAA Oregon and Media Sponsors K103fm and KOIN 6. Over 50 volunteers from The Standard, the event’s Supporting Sponsor joined the Manzanita cleanup.
In addition, the non-profit, Washed Ashore, took debris from several check-in sites. Due to their efforts, more than 1,000 pounds of debris will be re-purposed and turned into educational art sculptures at their Bandon facility.
Oregonians who were not able to make it to the beach on Saturday can still make a difference. By picking up litter in a local park, along a riverbank or near a road, anyone can divert trash from entering storm drains and flowing downstream to the ocean. Join a local SOLVE project anytime throughout the year, or create your own. Learn more at solveoregon.org