Of the Baker City Herald

Last year's andquot;Down by the Riversideandquot; clean-up event attracted more than 100 volunteers, who plucked 1,000 pounds of garbage and 500 pounds of weeds from the Powder River and along the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway.

They also built and installed birdhouses along the parkway and planted flowers during Baker City's first-ever participation in what has become a statewide event, sponsored by the group SOLV.

This year, event coordinator Rob Gump said, enough food to feed 200 volunteers is being assembled. The big day is Saturday, May 18, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and work commencing at 9 a.m.

andquot;We want people to register,andquot; Gump said, andquot;because we want to thank them afterward.andquot;

Volunteers will be able to knock off between 11:30 a.m. and noon, Gump said, when they'll be treated to a free lunch donated by area businesses and prepared by volunteers.

But even if residents have just an hour or two to give for the clean-up effort, they're welcome to come find a job and to enjoy lunch together, Gump said.

The work slated for this year is even more ambitious than it was last year. One group will again clean up garbage from the river and pull weeds.

Included in this group and funded by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will be a 20-member work crew from the Powder River Correctional Facility.

Kata Bulinski is supervising the entire clean-up effort, as well as co-coordinating the event, Gump said.

A separate group led by Clair Button will plant native species of sedges and dogwoods along the parkway.

A large group will be needed to paint play structures, picnic tables, gazebo rails and benches in Geiser Pollman Park. Scott Rotman is heading up the painting crew.

Jennifer Watkins will be responsible for the group that will repair holes in the fence near the library.

Bob Evans will take people on an environmental education walking tour.

Skip Stiglich and the Baker Lions Club will serve up lunch.

Already, Gump said, 65 volunteers in groups including the Boy Scouts of America, area church youth groups and Forest Service fire crews have committed to attending the event. In one sense, though, they'll all be a day late.

That's because the fifth-grade students of South Baker Elementary School teachers Colleen Collier and Merrie Hensley have volunteered to spend a few hours the Friday before cleaning up the trash that has accumulated along the parkway.

andquot;We've been studying U.S. history and talking about what our responsibility as citizens is,andquot; Collier said. andquot;We want kids to feel that they're a strong part of the community.andquot;

Besides their clean-up efforts Friday, students have also volunteered to write personal thank-you notes to every participant. They're also designing the postcard that will be used for the notes.

The entire budget for the two-day operation is a $400 grant from SOLV, Gump said. Any businesses or individuals who would like to offer materials or monetary donations can contact Gump, a resource assistant with the U.S. Forest Service, at 523-1904.