Man with a plan sweeps up volunteers

'Payback' project includes community cleanup and a party at Irving Park

A one-day cleanup in North and Northeast Portland will begin with a free continental breakfast for volunteers and end with a celebration for the entire community.

The Day for Retilling the Soil will be held Saturday. It's sponsored by People of Purpose, a nonprofit organization, and supported by Solv, a statewide environmental group.

The project is being spearheaded by Larry Collins, who said his motivation is personal.

'I live in the inner city, and years ago I was one of those young men who messed it up,' Collins said. 'But now I realize that we need to revitalize the inner city, and this is my way of helping to pay back the community for what I did when I was younger.'

Volunteers can choose which of three neighborhoods they want to help clean up.

Breakfast will be served at the following locations from8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: Cornerstone Community Church, 2216 N.E. Killingsworth St.; Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church, 111 N.E. Failing St.; and Jefferson High School, 5210 N. Kerby Ave.

Paul Staat, a community developer for the Woodlawn Community Resource Center and the Three Corners Group, said volunteers will fan out after breakfast for nine blocks around each location, with large garbage bags provided by Solv.

Trash will be returned by noon to the starting points, where it will be collected and trucked to the scene of the community celebration, Irving Park, at Northeast Seventh Avenue and Fremont Street.

'We want people to be able to see how much work they've done before it's sent to the dump,' Staat said.

The celebration in the park will include free hot dogs and hamburgers, music, and activities for children.

Solv is supporting the event through Project Oregon, a program that invites people to apply for help for cleanup projects in their neighborhoods.

'People tell us what we can do to help them clean up their own communities. We put them together with the resources we have,' said Dianna Weston, Solv's marketing manager.

'In the case of Retilling the Soil, they said they needed a Dumpster, and we helped them line it up. This is a great example of a community identifying a problem and doing something about it.'

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