by Kenneth Peters
Driving around the community, our attention is drawn to many things. Unless it is important, little notice is given to the side of the road or the occasional landscaped median. SLOW DOWN and you might note the two-piece signs that say Adopt-a-Road. While some will give a number to call for information, in six instances around the Cedar Mill-Bethany area you will see the name of a group that is being given credit for having adopted a section of road. You and your passengers will likely note that the section of road has less litter and the landscaping looks better.
Some 20 years ago the Adopt-A-Road program was established by the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation. It is actually two programs. There is the actual Adopt-a-Road program. This deals with litter only, and currently has 90 volunteer groups county-wide. In the Cedar Mill-Bethany area, the Vennes Family, Scout Troop 207, St. Pius X and the Cedar Mill Bible Church take care of some of our roadsides.
The other program is Adopt-a-Landscape. This adds landscape maintenance to the volunteer group’s responsibilities. The county has seven groups in this program and Cedar Mill has two of them; The Cedar Mill Business Association takes care of the landscaping on Cornell between Saltzman and Murray. The women’s service group Beta Sigma Phi maintains the Barnes Road medians south of Cornell. All these groups pledge to have twice-yearly work parties on a given section of road for a minimum of two years.
The contributions of the 97 groups do not diminish county road maintenance cost. What they do is enhance the section of road they help maintain. When one takes on something as their own they take more pride in it than if it was everyone’s or someone else’s. You care, therefore you put more effort into your toils. That’s human nature. It is likely that those who came up with the Adopt-a-Road program some 20 years ago realized this. It seems to be working. While drivers along our roads may get some appreciation from the efforts of the volunteer groups, those benefiting the most are those who have made the effort and feel greater pride for their community and for themselves.
For those individuals and groups not inclined to try their hand at roadside litter control and landscape maintenance, there is no shortage of work needed in our parks—be they Forest Park which has Forest Park Conservancy (www.forestparkconservancy.org) among others, or those maintained by Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation. SOLVE (www.solv.org) is likely the largest and broadest group in our area looking for volunteers. Other organizations and programs certainly exist.
There are always more opportunities for roadside maintenance. For groups wishing to learn more about the Adopt-a-Road program, the number to call is 503-846-7623.