Volunteers sought for city-wide clean up

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Portales is looking for organizations and the community to help clean up the city in the annual Trek for Trash.

While city crews will be part of the event, officials said Tuesday they are concerned they may be short of volunteers.

The event starts 1 p.m. Saturday.

“I haven’t heard of any organizations who have signed up,” said Portales Deputy Clerk Veda Urioste.

Teams of volunteers are assigned a mile to clean.

“I know the city is going to go out and clean their mile and I know several organizations who do have a mile, but I won’t know (who will participate) until the day of the event.”

Community Affairs Coordinator Nicole Wilkening said Trek for Trash is important because results are used when applying for state grants through the New Mexico Clean and Beautiful program.

“Previous years, we’ve done different things, not really organized,” Wilkening said. “We’ve asked people to clean up their miles, clean up around town and keep track of how many trash bags they collect.”

Reporting the amount of trash picked up has proven a problem in past years, Wilkening said. Some volunteers may have failed to report their numbers of trash bags filled.

This year, the city plans an accurate count. They will have specially marked bins set up in central locations.

“We’re going to have people handing out gloves and bags,” Wilkening said. “There’s going to be hot chocolate, coffee, water and cookies. Then we’re asking people to go and pickup their miles and trash around town.”

Groups or organizations looking for an area to clean should contact Wilkening or Urioste.