Nonprofit SOLVE discusses partnership with Portland

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 10:14 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - In his budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler highlighted livability and economic recovery as top priorities for the city. He’s proposing over $21 million for programs and organizations like the nonprofit SOLVE to make that happen.

“The city has been a tremendous partner of ours,” said SOLVE CEO Kris Carico. “Obviously the need was there and the community was reaching out to us – ‘what can we do? How can we help? What are some of the ways we can get involved?’ So we started talking to the city about how they can support us in this mission to activate volunteers and clean up. Since we started doing that we have made a tremendous impact. We bring in partners working alongside us doing outreach to some of the unhoused so that we can safely get our volunteers out to clean up the areas that really need it.”

Founded in 1969 by Governor Tom McCall, SOLVE has been working to restore and preserve Oregon’s environment through volunteers, partners like the City of Portland, and donors by hosting clean-ups across the state.

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“They are really our resource for getting volunteers engaged in cleaning up our city,” said Quintin Bauer, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Waste Operation Manager. “Just in the last year, they’ve organized 450 volunteer projects, 5,500 volunteers, and cleaned up 270,000 pounds of trash and we still have a month and a half to go. They take the passion that Portlanders are Oregonians have to keep our city clean and make sure our neighborhoods, parks, and natural areas are clean and healthy.”

Over the last few years, the city and nonprofit have been partnering on a number of projects, including city-wide clean ups days. On Thursday afternoon, several volunteers gathered in Southeast Portland to clean up the areas near the I-205 Multi-Use Path.

“I decided I wanted to volunteer because somebody has to help clean up with the area.,” said Chance Searls, who has volunteered for several clean-up events. “Today has been pretty bad. “We are at like, three bags and we are only an hour and a half into it so far.”

“We’ve picked up a lot of batteries, I discovered luggage,” said Denice Lazzara, who travels from Clark County to volunteer in Portland. “A little bit of everything. This is something that I enjoy doing. It’s a big impact in our communities”

In Mayor Wheeler’s 2024 fiscal year budget proposal, SOLVE would receive $400,000 to fund neighborhood clean-ups and more. Carico says over the last year, they’ve put a big focus on East Portland.

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“East of 82nd there’s been a big effort as it’s been underserved in many ways,” said Carico. “We get a lot of complaints from community members living in this area that want some help. We have volunteers that are happy to come out, give up their time, and give back to this community that really needs it. We’ll definitely continue the work we are doing in the east part of the city and wherever the community calls us to be, but we do a real direct focus out here so that we are making a difference.”

“There’s something we can all agree on, which is that we want a healthy and clean city,” said Bauer. “There’s really nothing better than getting out on a nice day like today and giving our time voluntarily to make a positive difference.”

The full proposed budget can be found here. To learn more about SOLVE click here.