Big Cleanup Planned For Lowell River-Road Postponed, Moved Out Of Everett

July 6, 2017


clean up

This littered campsite is one of many along the Lowell Snohomish River Road in Everett.

This Saturday RiverJunky planned to conduct a cleanup of the Snohomish River area starting at Rotary Park on the Lowell-Snohomish River Road.

They were looking for volunteers to meet them at 10:00 AM to help clean up the area along the Snohomish River.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office of Neighborhoods offered to provide security.

RiverJunky is a non-profit that cleans up areas around rivers to keep them safe for public use. has been in contact with them via messaging about changes made today.

Here is more about their group and the postponement of the cleanup and move out of Everett City limits.

RiverJunky Conservation was founded in 2016 by avid fisherman Jarrod Kirkley, who was determined to reduce the impact on the river ecosystems. In our first six months as a 501c3 non-profit agency, we successfully removed 49,561 pounds of trash through organized events. We also have 64,000 volunteers signed up for cleanup events through our website. In May we won the 2017 award from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s for “Volunteer Organization of the year”.

​As a non-profit agency, we are funded solely from public donations and sponsorships. We have recently launched our quarterly sponsorship campaign which helps collect vital funds that allows us to host our clean-up events every 4-6 weeks. These events help keep our rivers clean and free of toxic pollutants, and are essential to the health of river Ecosystem. The trash that we collect originates from abandoned homeless camps (we work hand-in-hand with local sheriff’s offices to get these secure and empty before coming in of course), litter thrown from cars that drive by, as well as people who are fishing or swimming in the rivers and lakes that do not follow the Pack it in, Pack it out rule.

​We were recently informed about multiple large abandoned homeless camps on Snohomish County property, along the Lowell Snohomish River Rd. We quickly started collaborating with the SCSO to get the approval to organize another cleanup event (our last major one in this area was in Monroe). After conducting several walk-throughs with the SCSO, our event coordinators found several camps that were also along the City of Everett’s property. We then expanded our event to attempt to get these large camps cleaned up as well, However that is when we hit our first roadblock.

RiverJunky contacted the Everett Police Department to get permission to go on the COE’s land and cleanup the camps, but the PD said they could not locate the camps that we had pictures of. We send circled and detailed maps outlining where they were located, yet the PD said they still could not locate these camps, therefore we were unable to get permission to clean up the horrendously trashed camps that we had found on City property.

​Our next roadblock was when RiverJunky wanted to use Rotary Park as our “base camp” (per se) so that we could place our 35yd drop-box in a parking stall out of the way. As well as the setup of our food and prize tables (we requested a corner of the parking lot so that we were as out of the way as possible) for the volunteers. We found out a Special Use permit was needed on June 28th, and requested that our application be processed as quickly as possible since the event was scheduled for July 8th.

On July 5th at 2:52pm we were finally notified that we were going to be approved for the permit, however on very specific conditions. The City would choose the dumpster placement, which was more than ok, but RiverJunky was required to provide “a certificate of insurance addendum with endorsement letter showing the City of Everett as additionally insured.

Include in the description box the following language: ‘City of Everett, its officers, agents, and employees.’ ….. Coverage amounts should be at least $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate” . We very quickly contacted our insurance agent who contacted the COE to get the specific requirements. The COE wanted RiverJunky to cover 487 people, which would cost a total of $875 for a 30hour endorsement.

RiverJunky would not only be paying to dispose of the trash that is on the City’s property but also paying for insurance on their agents, whom aren’t even going to be volunteering at the event.

Unfortunately there was no budging on these requirements from the city. On July 6th, at 11:22am, RiverJunky had to call off the event.

Our volunteers travel from all over the state, rent hotel rooms close to the events so they aren’t driving 5 hours the day of the event, plan babysitters, and much more planning is involved as well. A last minute cancellation such as this deeply affect our next event’s volunteer turnout.

Our Monroe cleanup had over 100 volunteers. When we had to cancel one event in Sandy, OR due to unexpected roadblocks such as this, and our next event only had 38 volunteers (including the 12 event coordinators).

We will be postponing this event until next Saturday, July 15th at 10AM. We hope to keep the momentum going so that we can show the people of Snohomish County what we are able to accomplish. From day one, Snohomish County has given us full authorization to use all county land and resources, without having to jump through hoops to get there. The SCSO (although not directly affiliated with RiverJunky) is offering security for our volunteers as they did for the Monroe cleanup.

RiverJunky is asking any able-bodied individuals that are interested in helping us clean up these abandoned homeless camps to come join us at 10am on July 15th (location to be listed on our FaceBook page). We always provide all cleanup gear (gloves, trash bags, trash grabbers, etc), a full lunch, and prize packs to every volunteer that shows up to the events. You can contact us via 866-RVR-JNKY or send us an email to has received numerous calls about the area around Rotary Park and along the Snohomish River south to the Everett city limits. Recently there have been multiple fire calls to the area. Both Everett Police and Snohomish County Sheriffs Office have spent considerable amounts of time there with their embedded social workers reaching out to people living along the river road.

About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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