CleanScapes Hires Homeless to Clean Seattle Neighborhood for Thanksgiving Retail Blitz
SEATTLE, Wash., Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- CleanScapes, a Pioneer Square neighborhood company committed to hiring the homeless, will conduct their first annual Thanksgiving Clean to prepare the area for the largest shopping weekend of the year. Pioneer Square is Seattle's original Skid Row. Home to unique shops, high-end housing, Seattle's music scene, and leading art galleries Pioneer Square also boasts the Rainy City's largest collection of missions and social service providers. The density of these services results in a higher than average incidence of civil offenses such as littering and public urination that have the potential to dampen the retail and residential environment. Eight homeless men and women will begin work at 5 a.m. on Wednesday the 26th and continue Thanksgiving day and through the weekend in an operation designed to thoroughly clean Pioneer Square. "We are not sure that a cleaning of this magnitude has ever occurred," said Chris Martin, Managing Director of CleanScapes. CleanScapes is a first of its kind public/private venture dedicated to improving the commercial and residential viability of Pioneer Square through innovative and efficient street cleaning and maintenance programs. The company was recently awarded a grant from the Seattle Public Utilities to conduct a pilot odor control effort in the neighborhood's alleys. All public spaces, roads, sidewalks, and parking areas will be cleared of debris ranging from broken bottles and rotting leaves to years of dirt accumulation. "While we hope there will be a lasting effect we are doing this so shoppers can focus on the unique and diverse shops of the neighborhood rather than on the litter," said Pioneer Square Business Improvement Area (BIA) President Dany Mitchell. The BIA has partnered with the Pioneer Square Community Development Organization, Martin Smith Real Estate, and the Samis Land Company to pay for the event. NEXTEL has provided communications support to help ensure smooth operations. "We clean about 50 properties every day but this will give us a chance to demonstrate what the Square could and should look like all the time," says CleanScapes crew member Walter Legon. Legon is one of three regular crew members who provide seven day a week coverage for CleanScapes' customers. The crew is housed at the Compass Center and are expected to work in the CleanScapes program for four to six months in order to smoothly transition to another employer. Rick Freidhoff, Executive Director of the Compass Center, says employment with CleanScapes has resulted in a remarkable shift in the right direction for the men involved. "We are committed to providing these men and women with living wages and the attention, support, and discipline they need to truly break the cycle," said Freidhoff.
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