FAQ

Questions? Try our FAQs below! If you can't find the answer you're looking for, send us an email at info@solveoregon.org or call 503-844-9571 or 800-333-7658. Thank you for your interest in SOLVE and commitment to your community!


History & General Information

Volunteering

Waste Recycling & Enforcement

Teachers & Students

Grants

History & General Information

What does the name SOLVE stand for?

SOLV Used to be an acronym for Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism, the “E” has been added to address a call to action. SOLVE as an action verb, deploying tens of thousands of volunteers to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. SOLV has Evolved and will continue to do so as we move forward.

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What does SOLVE do for Oregon?

Each year SOLVE provides resources to communities throughout Oregon, focusing on litter cleanup, tree planting, and invasive removal projects. There are SOLVE projects in every county in Oregon. SOLVE creates an average of 35,000 volunteer opportunities across the state annually. 

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Where Does SOLVE get its funding?

We value every dollar donated to SOLVE and pledge to use all contributions wisely to meet SOLVE's mission: Bring Oregonians together to improve the environment and build a legacy of stewardship. We receive our funding from a variety of sources including individual donors, corporate sponsors, foundations and contracts.

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How is SOLVE managed?

SOLVE programs and activities are currently managed by 15 talented and dedicated staff members. We've come a long way since 1969, when SOLVE was established by Tom McCall and other community leaders. Until 1990 SOLVE was run and operated by volunteers. That year, SOLVE hired its first part-time Executive Director, Jack McGowan. Jack led the organization for 18 years, employing a model that provides volunteer leadership around the state with the professional resources provided by the staff. Those volunteer leaders in turn oversee the on-the-ground activities of tens of thousands of volunteers each year.

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Who started the Beach Cleanup?

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) employee Judie Hansen and Eleanor Dye of the Oregon Sanitary Service Institute (Now the Oregon Refuse & Recycling Association) decided to do something to rid the state’s beaches of litter. So in 1984 Oregon led the world with the first statewide volunteer coastal cleanup ever.

These coastal cleanups are now spring and fall traditions for thousands of Oregonians. On average 7000 volunteers pick up over 50 tons of litter and marine debris from the Oregon Coast Each Year.

Common items found on Oregon’s coast such as six-pack yokes, fishing line and netting entangle and kill hundreds of seabirds, fish and mammals each year. Litter fouls boat propellers, clogs engines and contributes to the degradation of our beaches. It also puts a damper on coastal tourism and the local economy.

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Volunteering

Where can I find SOLVE Adult and Youth Registration & Waiver Forms (English & Spanish versions)?

You can complete a SOLVE Waiver electronically when you register for a project online.

If you need to print a paper waiver, Please click here for an electronic version.

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Can I sign up my group for a SOLVE project?

Yes, we provide online registration for groups for all of our programs.

Groups are always welcome at the Spring Beach Cleanup and Beach and Riverside Cleanup. Please call SOLVE for groups of 20 or more.

If you are interested in organizing your own group project, check out our Oregon Adopt-A-River or Project Oregon programs.

For a recommendation on a project for your group, please contact Quintin at quintin@solveoregon.org or call 503.844.9571.

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Does SOLVE offer volunteer opportunities for senior citizens?

SOLVE works to provide volunteer opportunities for everyone. If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity, please look at our calendar of events or call Kaleen Boyle at 503-844-9571 ext.332 or email kaleen@solveoregon.org

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Does SOLVE have volunteer opportunities throughout the year?

Yes. SOLVE manages a wide range of programs throughout the year, which encourage and support volunteerism all over our State. You can volunteer for a single day event such as a Beach Cleanup, or make a longer commitment and volunteer through programs like Oregon Adopt-A-River. We encourage you to sign up for our free monthly e-Updates located on the SOLVE homepage, which list upcoming volunteer opportunities. Here is what is happening this month.

There are also Volunteer Action Training opportunities for those interested in organizing and leading their own projects.

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Who can volunteer with SOLVE?

SOLVE encourages everyone to volunteer! Our projects bring together people of all ages, from all ethnic, social, economic and geographic areas to enhance our communities, and natural areas, and to build a sense of community that unites us all as Oregonians. SOLVE has opportunities for nearly everybody. Here is just a small sample of some the groups we work with: families, AmeriCorps members, students, civic groups, businesses, faith-based organizations, government agencies and citizens who need to fulfill community service hours.

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How can I create my own volunteer project?

You can organize your own project at any time as a SOLVE Project Coordinator through:

Oregon Adopt-A-River, SOLVE's Project Oregon. Our comprehensive Volunteer Action Training is provided free of charge if you agree to coordinate a SOLVE project in your community within a year.

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How can I become a Site Coordinator for an existing volunteer program?

Many of our projects are led by volunteer Site Coordinators. If you’d like to take charge, please read about our programs for information on duties involved.

Beach Cleanup Zone Captains and Beach Captains: Spring Beach Cleanup, Beach and Riverside Cleanup – Contact Joy Irby, joy@solveoregon.org; SOLVE IT Earth Day event Site Coordinators, held Statewide in April – Contact Quintin Bauer, quintin@solveoregon.org

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Does SOLVE offer financial support for cleanup and restoration projects?

SOLVE offers small grant funds through our Project Oregon program. Project Oregon offers Oregon citizens the planning support and resources needed to organize and carry out a litter cleanup, tree planting, invasive removal, or restoration site maintenance and monitoring project. SOLVE provides active staff assistance, small grants, and limited help with planning, organizing, and recruiting volunteers, project materials, and recognition. When available, SOLVE provides grants of up to $100 for on-the-ground project expenses such as disposal fees, supplies, equipment rental, gloves, safety vests, plants and planting supplies, and recycling and trash receptacles. Applications are accepted at any time.

Other programs offer a combination of funding and group services, such as dumpsters or portable restrooms to help offset costs.

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How can I get volunteer leadership training?

Improve your volunteer leadership and community project management skills! Our comprehensive Volunteer Action Training is provided free of charge for those who agree to coordinate a SOLVE project in their communities within one year of completing the training (fee-based training is also available with no project requirement). Otherwise, trainings are offered for $75 per person. If you don’t find a scheduled opportunity in your community, contact Kaleen Boyle, kaleen@solveoregon.org. We may be able to schedule a special opportunity for a group in your area.

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Waste Recycling & Enforcement

How do I file a traffic littering complaint?

Did you see someone throwing litter out their window? Write down the license plate number, date, time, location of the event, male/female driver and file a traffic complaint. Typical traffic littering complaints are directed to an Oregon County or City authority.

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Does Oregon have a Litter Control Hotline?

No. Unlike Washington, Oregon does not have a statewide litter control hotline. You can instead file a formal complaint to your County or City authorities.

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Where can I get rid of my old refrigerator, tires and other hard-to-dispose of items?

This depends on what county you live in. Please contact us if you need help.

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Does SOLVE clean up illegal dumpsites?

SOLVE partners with neighbors, property owners, businesses, recreation advocates, civic, nonprofit, faith-based, community organizations and groups, and government agencies to remove waste and restore illegal dumpsites to their natural state throughout Oregon.

Illegal dumping is a serious problem that threatens the health of our watersheds, natural areas and communities. Illegal dumpsites are expensive to clean up and damaged watersheds are difficult to restore. Wildlife such as deer and other large mammals can be restricted from accessing necessary water sources and can become trapped and entangled in debris.

SOLVE supports the cleanup of illegal dumpsites throughout the state of Oregon through our Project Oregon and SOLVE IT programs. SOLVE IT has dramatically reduced the number of illegal dumpsites in the greater Portland Metro area. Over the 25-year history of this Earth Day event, volunteers have removed more than 12 million pounds of debris from illegal dumpsites, neighborhoods and natural areas and over 41,000 illegally dumped tires have been recycled. Although there are many success stories of horrendous dumpsites that have been cleaned up in communities throughout Oregon, there is still much more work that needs to be done. Household garbage and construction waste continues to litter our magnificent forests, rivers, streams, beaches and desert lands. Public awareness and volunteer action are the best ways to combat this important issue.

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Who do I call to report an illegal dumpsite?

Illegal and unsightly dumpsites are a major ongoing issue in many Oregon counties. Over the years, SOLVE has helped clean up thousands of tons of debris left in our environment. Fortunately, there are many organizations and agencies focusing on this problem. SOLVE, in partnership with citizen volunteers, government agencies and private companies, is committed to finding solutions through education and cleanups.

Please contact SOLVE for reporting options

If the illegal dumpsite is on public property, SOLVE supports citizens taking personal responsibility by coordinating a cleanup project or event. SOLVE operates a program called Project Oregon which is designed for groups or individuals who organize their own cleanup or enhancement project. SOLVE has free materials, including trash bags, and can offer small grants, up to $100, to offset certain project expenses. This could include renting a drop box, hauling, or disposal fees. A great Project Planning & Reference Guide is available to project coordinators. If you are interested in organizing a cleanup project, please determine if the illegal dumpsite is on County, City, State Forest or Park land and fill out our Project Oregon application online.

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Teachers & Students

How can I involve my school in a project?

Whether at your school, or in the community, our K-16 Education program successfully involves students in community service projects. Our emphasis on service-learning – a teaching and learning strategy integrating service to the community with classroom study – enables students (and teachers) to satisfy state educational standards while meeting real community needs. We offer free curriculum, project planning assistance (including small reimbursement grants), and in-service training and consultation for teachers.

Schools may participate in a single event, multiple events throughout the school year, or as an ongoing program. Schools may also choose to integrate SOLVE service-learning curricula into their participation in SOLVE programs and events.

All programs and materials are endorsed by the Oregon Department of Education as an engaging way for students to meet required curricular standards. For additional information, we invite you to contact Quintin Bauer, our Program Director, at quintin@solveoregon.org, 503.844.9571 x321, or 800.333.7658.

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What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that intentionally integrates meaningful service to the community, with school-based or school-required academic learning goals. Since 1999 SOLVE has been working to develop a series of K-12 programs and curricular materials to support Oregon schools in service-learning.

SOLVE has a formal partnership with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). We offer a variety of opportunities for students to meet the CIM content-related standards in 11 ODE-identified subject areas, and the Career-Related Learning Standards. SOLVE service-learning opportunities can be implemented with participation in even just a single event, multiple events throughout the school year or as an ongoing program.

SOLVE offers the following service-learning resources:

Service-Learning Curricula

SOLVE provides a comprehensive curriculum designed to help Oregon’ K-12 students meet learning goals and outcomes as they beautify, enhance and restore their community. Comprised of hundreds of restoration and community-building activity ideas, Students Building Community is aligned activity-by-activity to Oregon's academic standards across all content areas (from Arts to Technology). Students Building Community supports student project development in six broad categories: Around Your School, Birds and Butterflies, Construction, Planting, Streams and Ponds, and the Restoration Process.

Service-Learning Project Support

SOLVE is ready to provide logistical support and coaching to help teachers and students plan and implement restoration or cleanup projects. SOLVE provides a brief service-learning training for participating educators, curriculum aligned to state standards (Students Building Community), free project materials, small reimbursement grants and ongoing project support. Two of SOLVE’s programs – SOLVE IT and our Beach and Riverside Cleanup – are set up to support teachers and classes engaged in service-learning during designated school days around the event. If these programs do not work for your class schedule, we can support your project through our Project Oregon and Oregon-Adopt-A-River programs. Please contact Quintin Bauer at quintin@solveoregon.org, 503.844.9571 x321, or 800.333.7658 for more information.

Web-based resources

Find descriptions of all education program opportunities and curricula, application and reporting forms as well as our Service-Learning Tools Series on the SOLVE K-12 education planning page.

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I want my class to be involved in community service – but I don’t think I want to link it to my curriculum at this time. Can SOLVE help me?

SOLVE offers Oregon teachers and youth a number of pre-organized one-day opportunities to join in cleanup and restoration events around the state. Students are invited to sign on as a class, a club, a group of friends, or to participate in these activities with their families. SOLVE provides documentation for students who need a record of their service hours:

  • Beach and Riverside Cleanup: Fall event where volunteers clean up the Oregon coast and inland sites
  • Spring Beach Cleanup: Spring event where thousands of volunteers clean up the entire Oregon coast.
  • SOLVE IT: (April) Annual Statewide Earth Day enhancement and cleanup event
  • Oregon Adopt-A-River: (year round) Statewide adoption of a 2-mile stretch of an Oregon waterway; participants commit to two projects per year over two years
  • Project Oregon: Year round volunteer-led projects. Activities include tree planting, invasive removal, litter cleanup and restoration site maintenance and monitoring.

For current-year dates, or to register for any of these events, please visit our calendar.

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