SOLVE works to clean up Portland streets ahead of March Madness

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 12:33 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – With one day to go before Portland hosts rounds one and two of the NCAA tournament at the Moda Center, volunteers are setting out to tidy up the Rose City before it takes a turn in the spotlight.

Roughly 200 SOLVE volunteers showed up Wednesday ahead of one of the biggest events Portland has hosted since the pandemic began. The environmental group isn’t new to this -- once a month arranging an army of volunteers to clean up the streets of downtown Portland.

Beginning shortly after the pandemic started as trash in the city began piling up, in part from what Mayor Wheeler calls “the humanitarian crisis of the houseless,” SOLVE began taking to the streets.

18 months later SOLVE volunteers are still at it, picking up more than 50,000 lbs. of trash over the last year-and-a-half.

“We’re shining up the city in advance of the visitors coming into town to watch the games,” said SOLVE’s Kris Carico.

Among the volunteers, workers from Greenbridge Properties who manage commercial properties in downtown Portland.

“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the solution,” said Karen Tam, director of property management at Greenbridge Properties. “We are here downtown every day and we just want to make a contribution to the community.”

Derek Terrill, maintenance manager at Greenbridge Properties, added he believes it’s time to get back to a Portland he remembers.

“It’s important we got to get the city cleaned up. I remember back in the day when it was really clean here all the time and it’s time to get back to those times,” said Terrill. “This has been going on for too long.”

With the mask mandate now lifted and COVID-19 cases on the decline, the city is opening more. Hosting March Madness is one way to celebrate. It’s also going to bring an expected boost to the economy with Travel Portland expecting the games to bring about $4 million to the city, especially through hotels and restaurants.

“We’re working with our volunteers to get those areas cleaned up on the west side,” said Carico. “Mostly pedestrian passes people will be taking as they walk to the Moda Center.”

For more information and to get involved, visit SOLVE’s website.