Volunteers remove tons of trash during biggest Spokane River cleanup of the year

SPOKANE, Wash. - Hundreds of volunteers turned out on Saturday to the 15th annual Lands Council and Spokane Riverkeeper clean-up.

"The river is one of the biggest parts of Spokane and its important to keep it clean," said volunteer Gabriella Wiykovis. "I want people to enjoy it, so it would be nice to not have trash everywhere."

Tons of trash were removed, as teams cleared areas near People's Park, High Bridge Park, the University District, Spokane Valley and the downtown River Gorge area.

"The river really mirrors the community in many ways," said Jerry White, who heads the Spokane Riverkeeper, "It is a mirror for all the joy and beauty we find in the community, but it also reflects the dark side."

He said the mental illness and homeless problem is apparent in the waste left behind from homeless camps. He also points to all the needles volunteers found as an indicator of the city's opioid epidemic.

"We pulled out tires and bikes and everything in between," said Wiykovis.

A plus that the trash is now removed, but bad that it had to be in the first place volunteers said.

"I feel like its people not realizing the effect of the litter that it kills wildlife and ruins the beauty of the area," said volunteer Joseff Pentico.



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