July 4th crowd leaves trash in Portland

City crews clean up the trash left behind from the crowds at Waterfront Park, July 5, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
City crews clean up the trash left behind from the crowds at Waterfront Park, July 5, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of 4th of July revelers enjoyed the music and fireworks at Waterfront Park Thursday nigh. But they also left behind mountains of garbage, thousands of cigarette butts and plenty of other trash.

Portland Parks Bureau employees and volunteers on clean-up detail were surprised at the volume of garbage and spent fireworks.

“There’s many other parks out there that get hit as well,” said parks employee Tom Hansen. “But this one gets hit the hardest.”

The parks bureau budgeted for it and expected it. Just not this much of it.

“It’s kind of shocking. It’s the worst we’ve seen,” said Robin Akers with Portland Parks Bureau.

The city brought in additional workers on court-mandated community service.  Akers said some people did try to dispose of their garbage the right way, but the receptacles overflowed.

“Probably a few more garbage cans wouldn’t hurt, but one of the problems is just when it’s so crowded down here it’s hard for us to get in and out,” Akers said.

Cutbacks in the parks bureau means fewer folks who can do monitoring and clean-up. Most of the garbage in Waterfront Park was outside of the Blues Fest. They handle their own trash.

With more large crowds expected throughout the weekend, the parks bureau wants people to do their part.

“If we could have people, just please, take their garbage back with them,” Akers said. “I don’t think it’s asking too much.”

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