Adopt-a-Beach with SOLVE Oregon

Shannon Thompson and her husband, Harold, led a cleanup at Tillicum Beach on Saturday as part of their duties for SOLVE’s Adopt-a-Beach program. (Photo by Stephanie Blair)

Harold and Shannon Thompson like the northern half of Tillicum Beach so much, they adopted it. Silly as it may sound, adopting a beach is similar to a much more well-known program: Adopt-A-Highway, which is run by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Through SOLVE Oregon’s Adopt-A-Beach program, Oregon residents can spearhead the effort to keep their favorite stretches of the coast clean.

SOLVE is a 50-year-old organization with a mission to bring Oregonians together to improve the environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Part of that includes their two coastwide clean up days — one of which famously takes place during spring break each year. But the organization also provides support for small groups to get together and make a difference any day of the year.

All Oregon Adopt-A-Beach participants are required to clean their adopted stretch of coastal beach at least three times a year for two years and report their results back to SOLVE.

“We went ahead and took responsibility, for three times a year, of coming out and cleaning up microplastics, all plastics and trash,” said Shannon.

The first of their three cleanups this year took place on Saturday, and they found a variety of different materials: microplastics, ropes, fishing net, plastic bottles, glass and even trash that had been washed across the Pacific Ocean from Japan. Shannon said the most common things they see on their adopted beach are microplastics and fishing materials — nets, in particular.

Currently, there are over a dozen beaches adopted in Lincoln County, and there are plenty more to be claimed.

“But you don’t have to adopt a beach,” said Shannon. “You can also adopt a river, creeksides, all kinds of stuff.”

Though, if individuals want to help without taking on a leadership role, they can also keep an eye out for cleanups in their area — on Facebook or through SOLVE’s website. Shannon added that it’s a great way to get outside and meet new people. In one word, she said that SOLVE is about “community.”

Those interested in adopting a beach can read more about the program at www.solveoregon.org and contact Jon Schmidt at [email protected] or 971-346-2703 to inquire about adopting a specific beach.

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