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'I just want to see things turn around': Hundreds of volunteers clean up downtown Portland

Hundreds of volunteers, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, signed up to clean up downtown on Thursday morning.
Credit: Bryant Clerkley

PORTLAND, Ore. — Hundreds of people signed up to clean up downtown Portland on Thursday morning. 

People remained socially distant as they lined up at the Benson Hotel. A volunteer named Kim said she just want to get some normalcy back into the city.

"I love Portland," Kim said. "I just want to see things turn around. I support BLM and I support justice. This is a beautiful city and I want to see it continue."

 

Credit: Bryant Clerkley

Organizers said more than 400 people registered to clean up various areas of downtown. The nonprofit SOLVE put the event together.

"We are just trying to bring Portlanders together and show that Portland is a vibrant, safe, community," said SOLVE CEO Kris Karico. 

Mayor Ted Wheeler took time out of his day to help clean. 

When asked about recent violence downtown and having to move out of his condo in Portland's Pearl District, Wheeler said, "To have the kind of violence and destruction we saw the other night, clearly my presence is a hazard to other people in the community, so I need to find another arrangement and that's what I'm seeking to do."  

Credit: Bryant Clerkley

Wheeler went on to say that he supports the presence of the Oregon State Police in the city. They have been deputized by the federal government to help Portland police with the nightly protests.

"They have been a critical partner to use to make sure we do have the resources we need, so we won't need to rely on federal resources coming into the community and creating the escalation we saw several weeks ago," Wheeler said. 

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