The Street Sweepers™

Tired of something you see in your neighborhood or community? Expect the City to take care of it? Consider doing something about it yourself!

Go sweep the gravel off the shoulder where it's a road hazard for everyone. Pick up litter on the beach, on the street. Bring people together, seek permission, if necessary, to correct a situation.

Here are some examples. Each example may eventually have a full page.

Litter Patrollers

The Usual Suspects meet at 9am, 1st Saturday of each month, in Hillsdale at BASICS market to pick up litter for an hour, rain or shine. Volunteers pick up trash on differing routes in teams. Bags and grabbers are provided.

Shopping Cart Shaggers

Abandoned Shopping Carts

These carts are a huge source of visual pollution. It's also costly for businesses to lose track of them. Fred Meyer insurance prevents employees from leaving the store property to fetch them!! Enter Arnie, the Hillsdale Cart Return Tsar who shags grocery carts back to the Store or suitable pickup site and reports them to the Cart Hotline...

Here's the phone number for calling in abandoned carts in Portland Metro: 1-888-552-2787 (1-888-55-CARTS). Leave a detailed message with the exact location of the abandoned cart(s), and the store it belongs to (eg Safeway, Fred Meyer,...). Alternatively, make a report via []

Carry the Hotline number with you! Make an entry in your mobile phone Address Book, so that you can report carts from the field, rather than later. Pro Tip: Don't try to take carts away from people or otherwise engage them.

Mill Ends Park

Mill Ends Park is located in Portland at the intersection of Southwest Naito Parkway and Taylor Street, near the Willamette River. In 1946, Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan is credited with creating the park — built in an abandoned hole intended for a traffic light pole in a concrete median — and his columns about the park captured Portlanders' imaginations for years. After Fagan's death, the City of Portland named it an official park in 1976.

Mill Ends Park

For the back story and more photos, see this 'Mill Ends Park' article on Oregon Encyclopedia. Also see the excellent 'Mill Ends Park' article on Wikipedia which has 17 references.


Viral #trashtag challenge inspires bored teens — and tens of thousands of others — to clean the planet. [CBS News article]

Related Stories

About the name 'The Street Sweepers'

Vance Packard wrote a series of influential books:

But Packard did not write The Streep Sweepers.

In Anthem, by Ayn Rand, Equality 7-2521 is assigned his Life Mandate: Streep Sweeper.

MLK: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. — Martin Luther King Jr., April 9, 1967.

MLK: Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a streetsweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say here lived a great streetsweeper who swept his job well. — Martin Luther King Jr., April 26, 1967.

Personal Note: As a teen, in the 1960's, I swept the parking lot at our family's grocery, EAST VALLEY THRIFT STORE. Using a push broom, I swept the row of 16-20 spots that got used the most, along the front of the store. The smokers would pull up to the store, and throw their butt down before getting out of the car. Sometimes, they would pull in and EMPTY their ashtray right out their car door. So, I swept it all up, every night, and put the litter into the trash, which eventually went to the incinerator out back. Eventually, my father bought a sweeping machine, like a mower, that swept it all up into a bin that I emptied. (The machine was kept in the back storeroom when not in use.)


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Powerful Message to Cleveland Students [MLK]


The Street Sweepers is NOT associated with the Promise Keepers or Oath Keepers!

The Trademark™ on Street Sweepers is a joke. :^)