Volunteers came to downtown Roseburg on Saturday morning to spruce up a portion of Southeast Jackson Street cleaning up trash, washing buildings and sidewalks and even cleaning up the Hebe statue in Eagles Park at the corner of Jackson and Southeast Lane Avenue.
The Downtown Roseburg Association and the Blue Zones Project-Umpqua co-sponsored the event, providing volunteers to help and several members of the public also came to assist in the cleanup.
Susie Johnson-Forte, executive director of the Downtown Roseburg Association, said there are several reasons the groups chose the 700 block of Southeast Jackson Street as the focus of the cleanup.
“It sees a lot of action, so it gets dirty quickly,” Johnson-Forte said. “It’ll make it look spiffier, and the Elks is having their cleanup day, too. So everybody is busy on this block today.”
Volunteers pressure washed and cleaned around the park and picked up trash. One volunteer focused on picking up cigarette butts that had been tossed on the street and sidewalks.
Juliete Palenshus from Blue Zones Project-Umpqua said the group felt the cleanup made a good impact when it was done last year. So Blue Zones decided to organize another event this year, one that Palenshus said gives people a chance to give back to the community.
“Volunteering can lead to a longer, better life, because of the connection and reward that comes from participating in a productive event like the cleanup,” Palenshus said.
And the Elks Lodge members across the street from Eagles Park also decided it would be a good time for them to spruce up their building.
“We just decided we were going to clean up today,” Elk Tom Medler said.
The Elks members trimmed away some of the bushes next to their building that had overgrown so much that a homeless man had been sleeping in it without being detected. Their volunteers found a lot of trash in the brush and even a hypodermic needle.
Amber Treon was in town from Dover, Delaware, visiting her daughter’s family for a month and heard about the cleanup. She decided she wanted to help, so she jumped right in and started by scrubbing the Hebe statue and water fountain in Eagles Park.
“I volunteer in Delaware and when I found out about this, I said I want to help,” Treon said. “When I saw this beautiful statue, I thought, well this really needs a good scrubbin.’ When you’re giving back, it makes you feel good.”
Jayne Livermore was born and raised in Roseburg and she said she takes a lot of pride in her town.
“To be able to come out and do a little bit — last time I scrubbed garbage cans — it just makes you feel good because you’re doing something for the town,” Livermore said. “We have a real challenge with our downtown area right now.”
Palenshus said Blue Zones is open to doing more cleanups but they need the community to ask for it.
“Investing in downtown is a priority for us because we know a healthy, thriving downtown leads to a healthy community in a lot of ways,” she said.