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Volunteers to scrub trashed banks of Sky

A public cleanup under the Lewis Street bridge,
a magnet for homeless people, is Saturday

MONROE —  People will be clearing out junk around the Lewis Street bridge this Saturday to help restore the river.
Saturday’s Skykomish River Cleanup starts at 10 a.m. and should last most of the day. Meet at 19918 Niederle Road, a side road from Highway 203 south of the bridge. If you reach Ben Howard Road, you’ve gone too far.
Volunteers are given free fishing items for helping out.
The debris is likely to include heroin needles. Drug store Pharm-A-Save will properly dispose of the needles collected.
A relatively new organization called RiverJunky is leading this cleanup. 
The cleanup effort faced opposition from one area owner, but the nonprofit was able to get themselves onto a key property that is one of the messiest trouble spots.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office called RiverJunky asking for the Monroe cleanup. Bringing in the nonprofit to clean up the river cost next to nothing versus hiring a junk service.
The Lewis Street bridge area picked up recent notoriety as a homeless camping spot. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the people living there.
RiverJunky is the brainchild of southern Washington fisherman Jarrod Kirkley, who was prompted to heal the environmental impacts on our rivers. 
Last fall, he was fishing the riverbank and one of his catches was flopping around and got a hypodermic needle stuck in it. The sight not only ruined his fish, but ruined his day.
He came up with the cleanup group and started making phone calls that night, he said. Fishing gear companies, now numbering 40 sponsors, liked the idea and offered stuff as giveaway items to help incentivize the cleanups.
Today, there are 25,000 volunteers that participate, and the goal is to hold a cleanup in this state every six weeks, he said. Eventually the nonprofit wants to grow into neighboring Oregon and beyond.
Kirkley is anticipating 20,000 pounds of garbage will be hauled out of the Skykomish. Three dumpsters are being dropped off for the event.
To sign up, call 1-866-RVR-JNKY (1-866-787-5659) or visit www.riverjunky.us and fill out a volunteer form.
People can arrive to volunteer without signing up, as coordinators will be roving the riverbank to register people and have
them sign waivers.

 

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