Forest cleanup effort set for Saturday


Last updated 9/19/2023 at 9:24am

Volunteers can help clean up the forest near Sisters in an event sponsored by Sisters Community Leadership Initiative (CLI) on Saturday, September 23.

Volunteers will meet at Village Green Park in Sisters at 9 a.m. and convoy to the site approximately four miles outside of Sisters toward Bend on Eagle Rock Road. Participants should wear appropriate clothing for working in the forest, and bring work gloves. The City of Sisters is providing trash bags.

In a statement, Danna McNeese of CLI said, “We endeavor to prevent trash buildup by collecting garbage on a weekly basis. However, there is a constant need to clean up older sites where houseless people have moved locations and left excess camping equipment and personal items. We call these sites ‘hot spots.’ Oftentimes they don’t have transportation and rely on friends to give them a ride, resulting in not taking all of the belongings they have acquired. COVID added to this dilemma by requiring people to stay put longer than might have been planned.

“This creates a problem that needs to be addressed not only in our national forests but any place where unsheltered people reside. CLI strives to address this problem in a positive manner and simply do it. Until the housing shortage is solved and our nation’s mental health and poverty crisis is addressed, the problem of garbage buildup will remain. This issue falls between the cracks of jurisdictions, agencies, nonprofit work, and public services.”

Mayor Michael Preedin is participating in the clean-up as a private citizen. He sees the volunteer effort as a grassroots effort to address a problem — one that the City has wrestled with in recent debates over a proposed emergency homeless shelter in Sisters.

“I think they kind of heard my message regarding the homeless issue through the shelter discussions,” he said. “It’s kind of a way for us all to pitch in as a community. The more people-power we have, the less money we have to throw at it. Let’s just do it ourselves — that’s the Sisters Way. That’s what I’ve been talking about.”


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