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Travelers Fund Willamette River Clean-up

“If you do any simple research, you will discover and be relieved to know that the Willamette River is safe to swim in,” notes Willie Levenson, ringleader of the Human Access Project, a Portland Oregon-based group committed to cleaning up and changing the reputation of the city’s primary body of water.

For decades, the Willamette—like many rivers that flow through US cities—was a stew of industrial waste and sewage. No longer. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Willamette is safe for human recreation.

Support for the Human Access Project comes from the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund, which Sustainable Travel International developed in partnership with Travel Oregon in 2010 to invite the state’s visitors and businesses to support sustainable tourism development projects that preserve Oregon’s natural landscapes and cultural heritage.

“Thanks in part to the relatively small seed funding provided by the Oregon Travel Philanthropy fund in 2014, The Human Access was able to secure an additional $300,000 from the city of Portland to promote river access this year,” explains Sustainable Travel International’s Andrew Grossmann. “This is a great example of the multiplier effect at work—of our ability as a small nonprofit organization to generate impacts that extend far beyond our initial investment.”

If you will be in Portland, Oregon on August 22nd, 2015 you can register online today for a volunteer event to support the Human Access Project. Volunteers will help by removing debris and rubbish along the river’s shoreline to improve beach access for locals and visitors.

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