Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, April 05, 2017, Page 3A, Image 3

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"One butt at a time" pair cleans up CG streets
By Caitlyn May
laine Burns keeps her bucket in the
trunk of her car and arrives early to
her appointments so she can spend a few
minutes doing it. Ken Roe’s routine is a
bit more strict. He pulls on his purple vest
and sets out from J St., sometimes travel-
ing as far as Safeway collecting a buck-
et-full along the way. Together, Burns and
Roe have rid Cottage Grove of over 100
pounds of discarded cigarette butts.
“You can almost feel Mother Earth say
‘ooooh thank you’ like you reached a spot
she couldn’t itch,” Burns said. She’s been
a resident of Cottage Grove since 1989
and when she found longtime friend Roe
in the same city two years ago, it wasn’t
long before they became the duo known
for picking up fi lters .
The pair can spend up to 15 hours a
week roaming the parking lots and back
alleys of Cottage Grove collecting the
cigarette fi lters that would otherwise seep
carcinogens into the ground and water.
“The tobacco, that came from nature
and nature will take care of it. We want
the fi lters with all the chemicals,” Roe
Both Burns and Roe are smokers and
their message is clear: They’re not against
smoking, they’re against the subsequent
“fl icking.”
“Look, see here the trash can is right
here and let’s see how many we can fi nd,”
Roe said, approaching a city trash can on
Main St. one late afternoon last week. He
rounded the bin, picker in hand and be-
gan counting. Within a minute, his white
bucket proclaiming the duo’s slogan,
“One butt at a time” had nine new ciga-
rette fi lters.
“The biggest offenders are parked
cars and people waiting for the light to
change,” Burns said, gesturing to the
short line of cars waiting for the traffi c
light to let them escape 6th St. and head
onto Main St.
Other hot spots are parking lots and
certain areas tucked away throughout the
“There are hidey-holes you get to
know,” Roe said, zig-zagging from street
to sidewalk as he plucked up cigarette fi l-
ters along the way. He fi nally landed in a
corner of the grass yard surrounding city
hall and stopped knowingly at a pile of no
less than 10 cigarette butts.
“Someone smokes this certain brand
and does it right here,” he said, shaking
his head and adding the discarded fi lters
to his bucket.
Burns and Roe don’t have a set sched-
ule for what they laughingly describe as
“butt-picking.” If the weather is nice,
they’ll head out together and form a game
plan in a parking lot or fi ve-block area.
Burns will take curbside; Roe will be on
the look out for fi lters in the street. And
even though they don’t have a set sched-
ule, they do work on holidays.
“Christmas is the only day Walmart is
closed. We went to the parking lot, put
our buckets down and just started collect-
ing,” Burns said.
When they’ve collected for a few
months, they wrap their fi ndings in old
bread bags. Burns will spray the packages
in lavender to save the UPS handlers the
stink of ashes, tar and chemicals and then
send the butts off to TerraCycle.
The company pays for the shipping,
even the 93 pound package Burns and
Roe once sent, and turns the discarded
cigarette fi lters into things like plas-
tic outdoor furniture, ash trays and pet
TerraCycle specializes in hard to re-
cycle material according to its website,
“Whether it's coffee capsules from your
home, pens from a school, or plastic
gloves from a manufacturing facility,
TerraCycle can collect and recycle al-
most any form of waste.” The compa-
ny has partnered with individuals in 20
different countries and to date has more
than 63 million people like Burns and
Roe raising money for charity by clean-
ing up waste and sending it in to be re-
While Burns and Roe have memo-
rized the city’s street cleaning schedule,
they say there’s more the city can do.
“Putting the fi lters in the trash is fi ne but
we recycle so we’d like to get to them
before the city’s street sweeper does,”
said Roe.
Burns has a solution. “In other cities
they have tubes that go on the telephone
polls that collect the fi lters and then peo-
ple like us can go along and pick them
up,” she said. “I’d love to collaborate
with the city on something like that.”
Until then, the pair says they’ll con-
tinue doing what they’re doing. They’ll
keep hitting Axe and Fiddle on Sunday
mornings, scooping out parking lots at
Walmart, BiMart and Safeway, and ig-
noring those who fi nd their purple vests,
white buckets, pickers and smiles offen-
“You have some people like that,”
Roe said, “but we also have a lot of peo- Elaine Burns and Ken Roe work to clean-up Cottage Grove of discarded cigarette butts.
ple who stop and say thank you.”
VFW hosts weekly dinner for the community
Will Parrish makes no bones about the dessert tonight. It’s cobbler,
not pie. Also on the menu, chicken pasta primavera that was started
at 10 a.m. this morning by Parrish and his band of volunteers that
includes the junior vice commander’s wife, his own wife, students
from Willamette Leadership Academy and other helping hands.
The dining room at VFW Post 3473 is full tonight. There are members, non-members, familiar faces
and, according to the regulars, there’s always at least one new face among the crowd during the weekly
Friday night dinner.
“It depends on the weather. If it’s raining there’s less people but if it’s like it was today, then yes we
usually have a full house,” said a kitchen volunteer. She’s Ken Hunt’s wife and routinely spends her
By Caitlyn May
Monday April 10, 2017 at 4pm
1507 Harvey Lane, CG
From Main Street,
North on 16th Street to Harvey Lane,
leŌ on Harvey Lane
The purchase of this lot was made possible thru the
generosity of our sponsors
• The Ford Family Founda on
• The John Gray Land Opportunity Fund
• Habitat for Humanity of Oregon
• Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A.
Fridays in the kitchen just off the entrance of the post.
“I was coming almost every week but then my husband was commander and I thought ‘the com-
mander’s wife should probably be here every week,’” she said during a break between serving salads
and prepping the Army-sized pans of pasta.
Now, she preps dinner every week with Parrish and the rest of the volunteers. They can serve the
entire dining room at once with volunteer servers fl uttering about, handing out soup, salad, an entree
and dessert beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“The dinner has been at fi ve but if you work and get off at fi ve it’s hard to get here,” said Dennis
Twite, the current commander of the post. His wife jokes of a candle and turned down lights. “I get a
date night every week,” she said.
Other VFW members span entire tables with their families. Auxiliary president Carolin Pettit brought
her visiting family from Albany, grandkids and children to tonight’s feast, which she’ll help clean-up
“The money we raise goes to our veterans, it helps veterans,” she said, noting the $9 entry fee for the
four-course meal.
The hall fi lls up with chatter and calls for friends to join friends while a 50/50 raffl e garners one win-
ner and one “so close.” Spaghetti night garners the largest crowd while liver and onions draw die-heart
fans and their families who take solace in the second meal provided on those nights because the VFW
Friday dinner is about comfort and camaraderie. It’s goal is to raise money to help other veterans and
currently, it’s being hosted in a building in need of help as well.
The post has submitted for grants to bring their restrooms into compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act but so far, it’s been denied one and is still waiting for the other. It is, however, taking
donations. To donate, contact Dennis Twite at (541) 942-7099. To attend the weekly Friday dinner, visit
the post at 3160 Hillside Dr. Dinner is $9 for adults and $4 for children.
Light the
Way to a
Luminary Ceremony
Friday, 10pm, June 16th
Give the gift to the American Cancer Society & keep the
light burning with a luminaria in memory of someone lost to cancer,
in honor of someone still fi ghting, or in special recognition
of someone who has beat the disease.
Please complete and return this form to the address below.
(Note: to order more than one Luminaria, please photocopy this form.)
We appreciate the building support of Co age Grove Area
• Bentley Mooney Designs
• Cascade Home Center
• Co age Grove Board of Realtors
• Oregon Associa on of Realtors HOME Founda on
• Weyerhaeuser – Co age Grove
Cottage Grove Area Habitat for Humanity
PO Box 327 Cottage Grove, OR 97424
541.767.0358 www.habitatcg.o rg
In Honor of: ___________________________________________
In Memory of: __________________________________________
In Support of: __________________________________________
We can personalize the Luminaria for you.
List some of your loved ones likes and hobbies.
Please make checks payable to
American Cancer Socitey
and mail to:
South Lane County Luminaria
2350 Oakmont Way, Ste. 200
Eugene, OR 97401