Portland native picks up trash to try to bring back cleaner city

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 2:31 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - There’s more and more trash appearing on the streets of Portland.

Mark Kelly of Vancouver is taking it upon himself to clean up these messes. He’s doing these jobs several times a week.

“The COVID virus put everybody back basically,” Kelly said. “I just was tired of being inside, so I figured I want to do my part.”

Kelly, who grew up in north Portland in the 1960s and ‘70s said the city doesn’t look the same. He wanted to do something to make a difference.

“There wasn’t all this litter and garbage on the streets,” he said. “Now I see it, there’s trash and stuff on the streets.”

Kelly said he wants people to enjoy the area’s beauty like he did growing up.

“You’re talking about the Northwest and the Portland area as one of the most beautiful areas in the country,” Kelly said. “Portland was always known for the City of Roses and its parks.”

As for who should be responsible for the trash piling up on Portland’s streets, Kelly said it is a huge task for the city alone.

“I think it should be a combination of the city and the people that live in the city that help,” he said.

The 30-year Navy veteran cleaned up at Jantzen Beach, right at Oregon’s northern border. People experiencing homelessness have moved in and have brought more trash.

Kelly wants others to see that location like he did as a kid, when it was once Jantzen Beach Amusement Park.

“It had all the rides and picnic areas, two giant swimming pools,” he said. “It was a main tourist attraction for the Northwest.”

His Facebook posts on his clean-ups have lots of messages of encouragement and thanks.