Sixteenth annual Spokane River cleanup draws hundreds

Toilet paper, a shoe, and a bicycle wheel.

All of that and more was pulled out of the Spokane River on Saturday during the 16th annual Spokane River cleanup.

Each year, tons of trash is removed from Spokane’s beloved waterway, which is why the Lands Council continues to organize the annual event.

This year was no exception.

About 700 people signed up. As volunteers scoured the shores for garbage, they stumbled across some interesting finds- things you’d never expect to see right next to the river.

“I always run across clothes like shoes and socks and any type of different clothing that gets abandoned,” said Patty, a volunteer for the event.

A bicycle wheel and internet modem were other items gathered.

Patty’s been picking up trash at the annual river cleanup for more than five years.

“It feels nice and rewarding,” she said. “In a way, even though we’re picking up it feels like we’re giving back to the community and being able to help out.”

“Sometimes trash falls out of someone’s raft as they’re floating down the river,” said Chelsea Updegrove, member of the Lands Council.

“Sometimes there’s a camp and we explicitly do not touch people’s camps, but the river can be misused so it’s good to see everyone come together and pick it up,” Updegrove added.

While they hold this cleanup every year, Updegrove says there’s more you can do.

“I just don’t want this to end here,” she said. “I want everyone who’s here to leave with a sense of stewardship and pride over their river, to extend that into their daily life.”

Last year, volunteers picked up about three and a half tons of trash along the river. This year, their goal is to make it four tons.