On a crisp, sunny morning in Portland’s Director Park, the Downtown Clean & Safe board members gathered to celebrate the good work of the organization and appreciate some key people.
Clean & Safe board chair, Peter Andrews, welcomed the crowd of about 75 people and shared how the program helps make Portland a walkable city.
“Just a few statistics so you can get a feel for how much this program makes a difference in our city,” Andrews said.
“In 2016, our cleaners picked up 638 tons of trash, 16,822 needles, cleaned 52,048 biohazards and removed 37,265 graffiti tags. This year we are on track to pick up more than 23,000 needles.”
“Last year, our Sidewalk Ambassadors made 51,532 visitor contacts, making Portland the wonderful and inviting place it is. We also placed all of the twinkly lights up on the trees you see downtown during the holiday season, decorating 750 trees. These numbers speak for themselves. Downtown Clean & Safe is an ongoing advocate for a vital downtown.”
Keeping downtown Portland clean
The Portland Downtown Business Improvement District contracts with CCC to keep clean a 213-block area in central downtown and along the bus mall. In six-month trainee positions, CCC Clean & Safe employees remove graffiti, contribute to public safety, and keep downtown free of litter and debris. Clean & Safe hires its employees from CCC’s Community Volunteer Corps program.
Toward the end of their six-month work experience, Clean & Safe employees engage in practical, employment development workshops at the Employment Access Center where they also may also access one-on-one assistance in the job search process. Some graduates of Clean & Safe move onto employment at Central City Concern in janitorial, maintenance, pest control and painting roles that maintain CCC’s 23 buildings.
Cleaner of the Year
At the event, CCC President and CEO Rachel Solotaroff presented two Cleaner of the Year awards to Greg Davis and Matt Carr.
Davis is the lead employee on the Clean & Safe graveyard crew. He came to CCC through Hooper Detoxification Stabilization Center in 2013. He graduated from CCC’s Community Volunteer Corps (CVC), completed a trainee period with Clean & Safe and was hired as a permanent pressure washer in 2015. Two years later, he was promoted to lead worker. “On a daily basis, Greg makes sure the trash is cleaned up, graffiti is removed and that all service calls are completed,” said Solotaroff. “Greg is extremely personable, professional and a fantastic ambassador for Central City Concern and Clean & Safe.”
Carr was born and raised in New York and moved to Portland in 1992. He spent the majority of his adult life struggling with addiction. After a few attempts to get clean on his own, he realized he couldn’t do it alone. In June 2016, Matt was accepted into CCC’s Recovery Mentor Program. During this time, Matt successfully completed CVC by spending 80 hours giving back to the community at local non-profits. After completing the program, he was hired to work as a trainee at Clean & Safe in February 2017.
Right from the start, Carr proved to have an incredibly strong work ethic and the desire to learn and grow in his position. Carr showed so much pride in his work, he was promoted to be the third Clean & Safe special projects bicycle cleaner. “Matt’s dedication and hard work has contributed to a higher level of service provided throughout the district,” said Solotaroff. “Matt has repeatedly proven he is an asset and a great ambassador for Central City Concern, Downtown Clean & Safe and everyone who lives, works or visits in the Downtown Portland area.”
To learn more about how CCC is giving community members a second chance to shine, explore our jobs pages.