Roll up your sleeves — it’s cleanup time

April 27, 2010

By Chaitra Sriram

The DownTown Issaquah Association is looking for volunteers to do some spring cleaning and community building in its annual downtown spring cleanup.

The event will be from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 1. And if getting to know your neighbors isn’t incentive enough, lunch from the Flying Pie Pizzeria ought to be.

“We just want to invite everybody to come out, and it’s a great family event,” said Greg Spranger, executive director of the DownTown Issaquah Association, who’s helped organize the event for the last 10 years.

Volunteers should meet at the Hailstone Feed Store at 9 a.m. The plan is to clean a stretch of Front Street from the Grange Mercantile building to The Issaquah Press building, as well as a stretch of Sunset Way from the train depot parking lot to the library parking structure. Cleaning activities will include weeding, sweeping and picking up trash.

The event has been an integral part of the community for more than 15 years. Volunteers range from longtime residents, who have turned the cleanup into a family tradition, to newcomers and even Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops who join in for community service.

“It’s such a great event for the little kids. They really get into it,” Spranger said.

Lunch is also a tradition in the cleanup, woven into its history by the anecdotes of those who were there. Catherine Parker, owner of Flying Pie and her 9-year-old son Miles have participated for several years. They started when Miles was 2 and they picked up trash together.

“It feels nice to be involved in the community,” Parker said.

Spranger told a story about the first time Flying Pie’s pizza greeted the volunteers after their hard day’s work.

“They were just testing the pizza ovens then. They hadn’t even opened yet,” he said. “We used to do a barbecue after the cleanup, but that year, it was one of the weekends when it was pouring rain and they just said come in and let’s do some pizza. That’s been a tradition ever since.”

The event takes place on May Day this year, adding to the beauty of the historic city while following its time-honored traditions.

“When it’s all over it’s like, wow, that looks great,” Spranger said.

Chaitra Sriram is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at

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