Sprucing up the dunes

More than two dozen volunteers converged at the South Jetty last Saturday as part of a clean-up event postponed from earlier this summer. The event was hosted by SOLVE and the Surfrider Foundation.

Community pitches in for beach clean-up

Oct. 7, 2020 — Sustaining Oregon’s Legacy by Volunteering, (SOLVE) was formed in 1969 by Republican Governor Tom McCall to reduce and cleanup litter and discourage vandalism across the state.

The first state-wide volunteer Beach Cleanup in the nation was organized by SOLVE in 1984.

The success of that and subsequent clean-ups by Oregon volunteers spread as a means of environmental activism since then to all 50 states, and to 100 other countries around the world.

The group was originally called Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism but changed the name after expanding the scope of its efforts to include education, outreach and sustainability initiatives. SOLVE is a non-political, nonpartisan organization that does not permit volunteers to engage in political activity and does not support events where partisan literature or merchandise is sold or distributed.

The Portland-based nonprofit has coordinated hundreds of cleanup efforts across the state in the intervening years and on Saturday, Oct. 3, it hosted a successful cleanup at one of the most visited locations on the Oregon Coast, the Oregon dunes.

The South Jetty clean-up was cosponsored by the Siuslaw Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Jon Tipple is a member of both organizations.

Tipple was the on-site coordinator for the cleanup, which included 25 or so volunteers that walked the beaches, collecting discarded paper and plastic along the well-traveled dunes that run more than 50 miles along the coast.

The Oregon coastline is heavily impacted by all type of debris deposited by storms every year — all year long — some from as far away as Japan.

These storms have not stopped since the onset of COVID and the work done by area volunteers is more needed now, due to a lack of events earlier this year, which would have collected much of the trash that was collected Saturday.

“A big thanks to all the folks that participated in the SOLVE/ Surfrider cleanup of the South Jetty, said Tipple. “There was a great cross section of volunteers with couples, families and kids taking part and people were really enthusiastic because they realize this is something they can do.

“It is meaningful and a good reason to get out and enjoy our beautiful Oregon Coast while keeping it beautiful.”

The beach clean-ups are usually spring and summer events but the COVID pandemic has forced both SOLVE and Surfriders to adapt in an effort to continue the work they are involved in.

One of the main projects both groups are involved in has been interrupted but is set to resume in the near future, water cleanliness testing.

“SOLVE and Surfrider’s have not only been active in clean-ups for many years now but have also been doing water testing in concert with the Blue Water Task Force,” said Tipple. “The task force does monthly sampling of surrounding waters to keep it safe and to keep people informed about the quality of their surrounding water.”

For more information on SOLVE, visit solveoregon.org. For information on the Florence Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, visit siuslaw.surfrider.org.