By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
If things look neater and cleaner around Keizer Civic Center this week, there are 40 pairs of hands to thank.
Mark Caillier organized the Claggett Creek Watershed Council’s second annual clean-up last Saturday, Feb. 22. Originally the event was going to take place Feb. 8 as well, but snow and ice that weekend meant everything got done in one day.
The activity actually started the day before as noted Keizer horticulturist Wilbur Bluhm looked at the various trees and bushes, noting which ones should be pruned and which ones shouldn’t be.
“We had three pruners on Saturday,” Caillier said. “They were pruned so they will grow right.”
Caillier said 40 people showed up, including 12 volunteers from the Sigma Chi Fraternity at Willamette University and eight volunteers from the McNary High School ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program.
“Those two groups, I can’t say enough about them,” Caillier said. “They were in the hardest places to pick things up.”
Keizer Rotary – of which Caillier is a member – was represented by 14 volunteers and donated materials and equipment for the three-hour project. Loren’s Sanitation provided a 30-yard drop box for trimmed material, while several groups such as the city, Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association, Earth Tech, Jim’s Lawn Service and McKinley Landscape provided equipment.
“We collected almost 40 yards of debris,” Caillier said. “That’s about what we expected. We had a 30-yard dumpster from Loren’s, then a 10-yard dump truck from the city.”
Once the cleaning was done, Bill Riecke and Tom Porter from Bark Boys in Salem helped blow in 40 yards of bark dust.
“Last year with 60 people we trimmed, with no bark dust,” Caillier said. “This year we trimmed and pruned with 40 people, plus we also pruned around Chalmers-Jones Park (behind city hall). We also did bark dust all around the civic center.”
Once the bark dust came, the former city councilor thanked the volunteers and sent them home with their equipment.
That ended up being a slight mistake.
“The lesson learned is don’t let the folks with the leaf blowers leave until after the bark dust is installed,” Caillier said with a laugh. “I didn’t think about the mess it would make.”
Caillier and current city councilor Cathy Clark used push brooms to sweep up the mess left behind until about 3:30 p.m.