by Kirby Lindsay, posted 24 October 2014
On Saturday, November 1st, starting at 10a, members of the Fremont Neighborhood Council, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, and the Fremont Arts Council hope to be joined by Fremonsters of every other shape, size and interest as we all participate in a community-wide clean-up.
Gathering at the Fremont Troll, teams will be assigned (or volunteer) to specific areas of the neighborhood. Pick-up trash with strangers, or gather litter with great friends. This is the time for all Fremonsters to come together to show how much they love this community, our pride of place, and our care in making it clean.
“Your neighborhood is spiffier,” observed Karen Ko, of the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, “and has a lot less garbage around. The greater, grander part is that neighbors will talk to one another.”
Ko helps groups organize community clean-ups like the one on November 1st. “The culture of the Department of Neighborhoods is to look at all of these concrete types of projects, and to build community by facilitating them,” she explained, “it’s about helping to bring neighbors together.”
Ko will help representatives from the FNC, the FCC and the FAC get bags, grabber-thingys, gloves and the “obnoxious orange vests” (Ko’s term) from Seattle Public Utilities. Yet, Ko’s real part in this is to aid neighbors – and neighborhoods – in building community. “It’s not like you are tricking one another into talking,” she observed, “but if we know each other, you just care more.”
Frequently, Fremonsters demonstrate that we care about our community, but we don’t always have opportunities to meet each other. At the Fremont Fair, the FAC Solstice Parade, the Fremont Oktoberfest, the Fremont Sunday Market and the Fremont Outdoor Movies, Fremonsters are much more likely to meet people new to our area.
The clean-up on November 1st is a way for the people who love Fremont to meet others who share our passion, and to put that passion to great use.
Pitch-In & Share
Picking up litter is nasty, really, and it makes it worse when it isn’t even ours. No one likes picking up the trash after the party, even in our own living room. Yet, we’ve all learned that cleaning up after a feast or a fiesta is easier, and much more fun, friends and family pitch-in.
On November 1st, if everyone who loves Fremont shows up at the Troll to lend a hand, this clean-up can become a celebration. If everyone chooses instead to take the position that, ‘it isn’t my mess,’ then the trash will lay there, and grow thicker still on the ground.
“People come out because they need service hours,” Ko observed about clean-ups she’s organized, “and then they actually have fun!” This cooperative effort by Fremont residents, business leaders and the arts community can show the way that a burden can be shared through partnership and participation, and transformed into a blessing.
Have Fun Together
“It is a pretty simple thing to organize,” Ko said about community clean-ups. Not only does Ko coordinate bags, gloves, vests and the grabber-things, but she also coordinates with organizers to have the bags of trash picked-up afterward. “You leave the bags on a public right-of-way,” she explained, “the piece that I take care of is making sure Seattle Public Utilities knows where to pick up.”
This will be the third large-scale community clean-up in Fremont this year. The first, in January, took place as part of the Fremont MLK Day of Service, and had 180 volunteers scouring our neighborhood. The second, in July, had about 30 volunteers cleaning, in the rain, near the 46th Street Mural, and then enjoying a party, especially for them, at the new Patrick Place Apartments. Ko helped organize both.
“At a minimum,” Ko explained, “you probably want a dozen people.” With a dozen gung-ho volunteers, she said, you can do a lot, but sending people out in teams of four is best. “You can do both sides of a block, and do a significant number of blocks,” she said about teams, “For most people, they can wander around the streets for two hours, and it’s enough to clean most areas.”
Do The Right Thing
I don’t litter, and I bet you don’t either. Yet, trash collects, somehow, on our sidewalks, staircases, and at our art icons, and somebody, someday, is going to have to pick it up.
On November 1st, we can all help – and have fun – picking up trash. We can see this as a way to draw together – or a time to point a finger and pass the blame.
Please join the Fremont Arts Council, Fremont Chamber of Commerce and Fremont Neighborhood Council, and be a part of making our neighborhood better, in a basic, and practical, way.
- MLK Day 2014: Fremont Shares The Dream
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- by Kirby Lindsay, November 29, 2006 in the North Seattle Herald-Outlook
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©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.