Cleaning up a community takes a lot of time, familiarity with the places that accumulate the most trash, and the ability to be out of doors for prolonged periods in all kinds of climate. There is a specific segment of the populace that is uniquely suited to this work who have been doing it, to one degree or another, for free – often for decades. It’s something that the Human Access Project in Portland, Ore. figured out while they were working to create the cities new Audrey McCall Beach, which opens to the public on July 5th.
Scott Atkins has been going to that beach on his own for nearly three decades, he has been houseless for the last 2 years but found a sense of purpose in part by keeping the beach clean. He’s found all sorts of stuff: shoes, clothing, jewelry, a lot of broken glass and cigarette butts. And a lot of drug needles. Then he was hired to be the beach’s new caretaker by the non-profit Trash for Peace, now he will be paid for the work he enjoys. For one-hour everyday Atkins picks up trash along the stretch of beach on the east side of the Hawthorne Bridge at a rate of $15 an hour.
“The fact is I don’t leave anything,” Adkins said. “I pick up everything, everywhere I go. It’s just something that I do. I don’t like our city trashy. I’m a member of the city and the community and my name is Scott and I’m going to be here and I’m grateful.” And those who attend the new beach should be grateful for Scott.
Find out more about this project in your Good News Story of the Day here. Then imagine how much cleaner the community could be if you provided those who already take on the task the opportunity to earn a wage doing so – and what it could do to support those members of the community.
Story and Image from KOIN6.