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Vol. 19, No. 7 • Mailed monthly to over 12, 400 homes in the Gateway & Parkrose Communities Free • NOVEMBER 2003
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Argay couple cleans Parkrose one piece of litter at a time
Woman of Steele has heart of gold
Gateway rezoning gets first hearing
Leonard, neighborhoods clash on crime program revamp, exclusion from process

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Argay couple cleans Parkrose one piece of litter at a time

Argay Terrace residents take it up on themselves to clean up their neighborhood streets and contribute the “trash money” garnered back to their community


On their almost daily walks through Parkrose and Argay Terrace Clare and Sharon Mershon pick up litter. Refunds for the returnable containers they pick up are donated to a scholarship fund for college-bound Parkrose students. Here they are on Northeast Fremont Street in Argay Terrace doing their “dirty work”.
As with many of us, Clare and Sharon Mershon of Argay Terrace look for ways to stay fit and healthy. Part of their routine is to take 2-mile walks, four to five times a week. Along their walks they would frequently find discarded beer and soda cans. As active members of the Parkrose High Bronco Boosters, they began to collect those cans to donate to the Bronco Booster’s fundraising campaign.

The Mershons began extending their efforts by cleaning up general litter as they found it on their walks, and now leave their home with plastic bags and litter picks. According to Clare Mershon, “Most people would pick up litter in front of their house. We’ve just expanded the definition of ‘what’s in front of our house’. “

The Mershon’s have observed that litter often attracts more litter. They will find concentrations of debris in public areas such as around the Parkrose Post Office on Northeast 122nd Avenue at Shaver Street. Mershon feels that by picking it up as they find it, they help keep down the amount of litter that is dumped on public streets. If you’ve seen them plying their avocation, you may have wondered who they were. They received a number of heartily shouted “Thank You’s,” and appreciative honks from passing motorists and at least one woman wanted to know how to join them.

Clare, a retired engineer, worked as a Construction Project Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Sharon Mershon describes herself as fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a full time homemaker. Their daughter Susan is a 2001 Parkrose High graduate and currently attends the University of Oregon. Likely influenced by her father’s career, Susan is studying architecture.

The Mershons are selfless people who view being involved in their community as an obligation. They are also active in the SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) Program at Shaver Elementary School. They spend about one hour a week at the school reading to, and with, students who currently are not reading at grade level. Instead of actually teaching reading, they serve as mentors to the students and show them how reading can be fun. Sharon says the Shaver elementary SMART Program is in dire need of volunteers. Last year, there were approximately 50 SMART volunteers. This year, there are only 18; with between 50 and 60 kids who could use the assistance that the SMART program provides.

Sharon also volunteers at the Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children, and at her church.

A recent meeting at Parkrose High School found this civic-minded couple in attendance. The meeting gathered Parkrose school board members, law enforcement officials, neighborhood and religious leaders to discuss the school’s recent difficulties and the tumultuous events at nearby Argay Park.

They were encouraged by both the attendance and obvious desire by all concerned to find solutions, but feel there is a need to have an even broader community representation at important meetings such as this.

If you see the Mershon’s walking through your neighborhood with their plastic bags and litter picks, you’ll be reminded that this couple is doing their share to make our community more livable. Probably my share and maybe yours as well.

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