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 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.