Stepping up: Bend woman clearing Deschutes River bank of trash

“Just knowing it’s going to be put in a pocket and dragged out of here makes me good.”

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Garbage left by homeless campers is piling up on the banks of the Deschutes River at the north end of Bend.

Raemi Poitras said she was shocked to see a social media post about what the riverside looked like in the area.

“I just find that no matter where I look there is trash and evidence of living household items that belong in the dump and not in our river,” the Bend native told NewsChannel 21 on Monday.

Instead of complaining about the garbage build-up, Poitras started doing something about it.

“This is my third day out here,” she said as she bagged some rubbish.

Poitras works his way off the Mount Washington Drive Bridge and cleans up the trash on the west bank of the river. She hopes to make it upstream to the dam by spring.

“And I have a feeling if those of us who can’t get out and do something, it will only get worse,” she said.

It’s also not easy as the area is filled with large boulders and mud to navigate. It’s the same spot where a homeless man fell 40 feet off the cliff last August.

“Just knowing it’s going to be put in a pocket and dragged out of here makes me good,” said Poitras.

Also, she has some downtime due to the slow times in her pet care business due to the pandemic.

“I like to help my community in any way I can,” said Poitras. “I’ve been trying to help the homeless community for the past three to five years, I would say.”

It’s a problem she understands all too well.

“I never had to live like this,” said Poitras, remembering a time when she was homeless herself. “I lived in a Volkswagen Beetle with my children when they were little, but we lived in the mountains and very little survived. So I get it. “

And the location doesn’t make it easy to get the trash out.

“If we as a community can help the people out here,” she said. “Bring them garbage bags. Make garbage dumps for them.”

She still has a long way to go to achieve her goal. A bag of garbage each.

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