Olympia residents might notice their streets look a bit cleaner after the second Oly Clean.
Adults and children donned raincoats and protective gloves Saturday, carrying buckets and garbage bags across the city. Hundreds of volunteers on 23 teams signed on to pick up trash along sidewalks, in parks and downtown alleys.
Despite the rain, volunteers began work Saturday morning and picked up garbage throughout the day.
The event was created by the Facebook page Olympia Memes. Last year’s cleanup mobilized about 400 people who collected nearly 4,000 pounds of debris, including cigarette butts, food wrappers, alcohol containers and uncapped syringes.
The anonymous manager of the Facebook page reported that about 250 people signed up for this year’s event.
Olympia residents Harmony Westcott and Veronica Kaliman recruited their young children to help with the effort, and decided to tackle downtown Olympia. The friends said they have lived in Olympia most of their lives, and believe it’s important to take care of their home.
Westcott said that’s an idea she wants to pass on to her 4-year-old son, Caleb Bonnet.
“He needs to learn that it’s important to take care of the place he comes from,” Westcott said. “He needs to value his city, and I think there are a lot of people who don’t do that.”
Caleb and 6-year-old Kayleen Bonnet, Kaliman’s daughter, both carried trash pick-up claws, which Caleb called a “grabber-picker-upper.” The women are friends and the kids are half-siblings. They used their tools to pick up soggy paper and cigarette butts — lots and lots of cigarette butts.
“It would be really nice if these businesses that don’t allow smoking would have some way for their customers to throw away their cigarettes outside,” Westcott said. “They just make such a mess.”
The group didn’t find anything too dangerous Saturday morning, and Westcott said the downtown streets and alleys aren’t any dirtier than they were last year.
“So far, it’s right on par with last year,” Westcott said. “There’s nothing too crazy.”
But the women said they’re used to seeing strange things in downtown Olympia. They’re both former employees of a downtown bar.
“I think we’ve seen it all,” Kaliman said.