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Cleanup Project Set Along Little Luckiamute

FALLS CITY -- The parks and recreation committee in Falls City was just recently re-established and it is wasting no time embarking on an ambitious project.Saturday, the parks committee, Falls City Councilor Terry Ungricht, and nonprofit SOLVE (formerly SOLV) are hosting a cleanup event along the Little Luckiamute River.Schools are open, marking the unofficial end of the summer events -- including Falls City's Bad to the Bone festival Aug. 31 -- so Ungricht thought this would be the best time for the project. Terry Ungricht "We'll have just had Bad to the Bone last weekend, so we thought it would be a good time to do a good cleaning," he said. "The river is low and it's before the big rains come and wash everything down to the cities below."Ungricht has been walking the mile-long stretch of river the event will focus on and said litter isn't overwhelming. But there is a bigger concern: invasive species.Blackberry brambles and Japanese knotweed are rampant in places and pose a significant obstacle to the parks committee's long-term objective of creating a riverside trail through town.Volunteers Saturday will help remedy that, by performing an invasive species audit on the shores while they clean. The city has already contacted the Luckiamute Watershed Council about clearing invasive Japanese knotweed and is exploring options for obtaining native plants to replace it.The event will comb the river shore from Falls City High School all the way up to the area of the river nicknamed "the bathtubs," about 300 yards above the falls. The stairway behind the high school and both parks along the river will be picked up as well."It's pretty much the whole river inside the city limits," Ungricht said.Ungricht is hoping for about 20 volunteers to work in teams cleaning up trash and documenting invasive species.He noted high school science classes have nicely maintained the river shores near the school -- a class project over the years."That is what we are hoping to copy upstream," he said. River Cleanup What: Litter pickup and invasive species audit along the shores of the Little Luckiamute River in Falls City. When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: Volunteers will meet at the Falls City Community Center, 320 N. Main St. Of note: SOLVE of Oregon will be providing all necessary supplies, including bags and gloves. Volunteers need only dress appropriately and show up. For more information: Terry Ungricht: 503-779-4132.

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