Rising water and colder temperatures have driven many illegal campers from the banks of the Willamette River. Behind, they leave a remarkable amount of trash. Recently, 50 volunteers got together to clean up a one-mile stretch of river in Eugene.
Volunteers are walking the riverbank along the railroad tracks off Franklin Blvd., and removing anything that doesn't belong. It's no easy task. The nearly 2 tons of trash collected by volunteers includes soiled mattresses and broken television sets. And that's just the debris they could touch.
Michelle Emmons is with Willamette Riverkeepers.
Emmons: We've picked up a ton of needles today. HIV Alliance came out with some containers and did a pick up a little earlier before we brought the crews in today. And of course, we're telling the public not to pick anything up. So we're having the trained folks come out and pick up those "sharps." But yea, there's been quite a few dangerous things out here."
The goal is to clear all the garbage before high water can take it downstream. Emmons says discussions continue with housing authorities to find long-term solutions for displaced homeless while keeping rivers clean.