MEDFORD, Ore. — Downtown Medford is a lot cleaner after a local non-profit and the city of Medford teamed up one year ago this week.
The Clean Sweep program which started in September of 2018, is a partnership between the City of Medford and Rogue Retreat. Over the past year, it’s cleaned up over two tons of trash off of sidewalks.
“We got out for two to three hours a day,” Clean Sweep Manager Sylvia Davis, said. “We see all kinds of things, we see needles for one, we see clothing, bedding,” Davis said.
Davis said the program picks up an average of 30 to 40 pounds of trash per day.
“Not only is it from the homeless but it is from the general public because we see cartons from the food trucks, fast food items,” Davis said.
Local non-profit rogue retreat, which operates Hope Village, started the program. It hopes the homeless will develop skills and a track record that can lead them to another job. Two of their original workers have now moved on into independent employment but they all benefit from putting in the time downtown.
“For them cleaning the streets, they get 10 dollar gift certificates each time they do,” Davis said.
Local businesses have also noticed the difference the team’s making downtown.
“The clean sweep is great because when you look at the streets now, they’re absolutely cleaned. I mean it’s enjoyable to walk down,” Robert Galas, Owner of Father & Son Jewelry, said. “You hardly see any garbage, any papers, or anything, and they go the extra mile to try to get the corners and everything.”
“Any help that Medford can get downtown is appreciated,” Jennie Anderson, Owner of Instaprint, said.
Rogue Retreat said they’re hoping to expand the Clean Sweep program in Jackson and Josephine counties.
The program is recruiting volunteers to go out Monday through Thursday at 9:00 a.m., and Fridays at 8:00 a.m. They meet behind City Hall, on the corner of Oakdale and 8th street.
Davis said other people and groups like The Britt Festival are donating money and or cans/bottles.
If you would like to volunteer or help, contact Sylvia at 541-499-0880 ext. 4020