Now on the campaign’s return trip south, Leaven No Trace’s (LNT) Raymond Block once again brings his zeal for roadside litter removal back to Tillamook County.
By Brian Cameron
“Everything is going good,” said Block. “Funding is still low but support is up a bit. Dinners and places to stay have been keeping the southern bound part of the campaign going strong.”
Now listed as an official non-profit 501c3 organization, LNT is upping the ante to raise awareness of just exactly how much litter there is along our perceived pristine roadways on the Oregon Coast. Block mentioned that all donations to the LNT campaign are completely tax deductible and encourages businesses and other organizations to join the cause.
Despite the campaign building in popularity as it moves along the length of Oregon, Block mentions a number of things on his wish list that would mean the difference for his effort and the following its built behind it.
“A bigger rig to be able to have a place to sleep and have our gear is badly needed,” Block said.
A community effort
While Block walks the sides of our right-of-ways picking up enough trash to fill 13-gallon trash bags every dozen feet, he is at the same time building awareness of how we treat litter and how that correlates to the idea that our society picks up what many tend to throw out. According to some community members who have taken it a step further and have actually taken time out of their busy schedules to help Block with his campaign, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“The whole thing, how much trash there is, it really disgusts me,” Kendra Hall, owner and operator of Kendra’s River Inn on Highway 53 in Mohler, said. “In one day he picked up 53 bottles of 5-Hour Energy containers between Bay City and Garibaldi, that means someone is just buying them at Center Market in Bay City and tossing them out the window almost daily.”
Hall, accompanied by her daughter Galena Flores, both decided to put their own boots to the pavement and assisted Block with LNT in picking up trash and litter on the side of Hwy 101.
“I encourage everyone to help him out,” Hall said, “Whether it be taking time on your own to go out and pick up litter or by personally offering something to help him along the way like a hot cup of coffee, food. I have donated a few free nights at the Inn to him so he could have a warm and comfy place to stay along his way.”
According to Galena Flores, Hall’s daughter, who also took the time to go help Block out in his LNT campaign the problem is much more severe than she originally thought.
“After speaking with him while he was staying at Kendra’s River Inn it just really opened my eyes about how much trash there really is on the roadways, parking lots too,” Flores said.
After seeing Block and LNT move through Tillamook County when he was first heading north, Flores said she felt inspired to help – so she convinced Hall to help Block and his mother out for a few nights. Since then, Flores said, they’ve been closely involved with LNT ever since.
“Raymond helped open my eyes to the amount of trash that is laying on our ground,” Flores said.
Block and the LNT campaign celebrated its one-year anniversary on Nov. 18 and Block said he hopes to be continuing south despite the onset of cold and wet winter weather on the horizon. He reminded folks to be aware of how they use products every day and to endeavor to choose reusable and sustainable solutions over quick, single-use items that generate lots of trash.
To date, Block has personally picked up more than 100 tons of trash along the sides of Oregon roadways. According to Block, he has seen more trash from just south of Tillamook and up toward Clatsop County then he’s normally used to, suggesting that he’s filling more bags around here and making less headway – an issue he hopes each community will tackle collectively.
Block’s Leaven No Trace campaign officially began Nov. 18, 2016 and recently celebrated its one-year anniversary of Oregon coast litter removal. The first half of the endeavor started at the California border and extended north to Astoria where Block personally facilitated picking up trash along Hwy 101 and placing it in garbage bags for cities to pick up. He is now on his return trip south back toward California, this time covering the opposite side of the roadway.
For more information on Raymond and the Leaven No Trace, non-profit organization, and how to donate to the cause, check out the official LNT website at leavennotrace.org.