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November 7, 2016

Alisa Dunlap, Pacific Power Regional Business Manager

Tons of community spirit

By Alisa Dunlap
Regional Business Manager

In Oregon, the beaches belong to everyone. That is not true everywhere in the country, but thanks to the foresight of two governors with strong conservation values, (Oswald West in the early 1900s and Tom McCall in the late 1960s) nearly all of Oregon’s sandy strip along the Pacific is public property.

That is a great asset, but also means these picturesque strands between the sea stacks and the beach grasses are our responsibility. The beaches are our playground and, at sunset, can be our inspiration, but they are also something we need to take care of.

Pacific Power volunteer picks up trash during SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup

That’s why it was so inspiring to see hundreds of our North Coast neighbors, including more than 200 Pacific Power employees, families and friends care enough about keeping Oregon beautiful and in particular care about communities other than their own. I live here and try to always do my part to clean up the beaches a handful of trash at a time, but it was heartwarming to see so many others care about the coastal community to devote a whole day of getting down and dirty and filling bag after bag with stuff that doesn’t belong on our beaches.

I am talking about SOLVE, formerly known as Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism. It all started more than 30 years ago and was the world’s first statewide volunteer beach cleanup under the title "Plague of Plastics." Local coastal garbage haulers got involved and volunteered to haul all collected debris to local landfills at no charge. More than 2,100 volunteers removed 26.3 tons of debris at that first beach cleanup.

That tradition continues today. On Sept. 24, the 2016 beach cleanup on the North Coast involved volunteers hitting the beach from Arch Cape to the South Jetty. Pacific Power’s team was based at Tolovana. The team donned gloves and got down to work backed up by great partnership with our customers such as donated ice from Arctic Glacier in Portland and drinks from VanDusen Beverages of Astoria as well steeply discounted pizza from Pizza a Feta. Mo’s and Cannon Beach grocery store Fresh Foods helped get the food and drinks to where the crew was working.

Pacific Power volunteer cleans up trash along beach

While we had a strong group, we were just a part of huge overall effort. Statewide, there were 4,600 volunteers at 120 sites who removed an estimated 61,000 pounds of trash. Our 200 volunteers bagged about 700 pounds.

I am proud to be on the SOLVE board and it is so great to see the immediate effect of the cleanup. On the beach, obviously, but also the positive effect on our communities. There is something special about working together to improve something we all share.

Since 2011, when Pacific Power became a sponsor of the North Coast cleanup, more than 900 employees have been involved, collecting more than 6,400 pounds of trash. On Oct. 20 Pacific Power received the Tom McCall Business Leadership Award from SOLVE. Recognition is always welcome, but really it is the feeling of community that counts, that and the tons of trash.

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