Business owners, volunteers blend to clean up entrance to KP


Michelle M. Mondeck

Evelin Lundeen and Ayane Kawaai, right, were among several crew members who were out enforce last month cleaning up litter in the Purdy area as part of the WSDOT Adopt-a-Highway Program. Photo by Michelle Mondeck, KP News


Dayl Minch got tired of seeing trash building up on the roadside. Minch, a co-owner of Key Center’s Blend Wine Shop, took her determination and called the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Adopt-a-Highway Program and recently organized a road cleanup crew.

“Our town is beautiful and full of art, writers, talent and shops, and this (litter) is the first thing people see as they enter Purdy,” Minch said.

On April 7, the crew, consisting of more than 20 volunteers, gathered in the pouring rain outside of Massimo’s restaurant and were given an assigned section of road.

Two of the volunteers, Paul and Colleen Haak, said they were happy to lend a hand picking up, as they helped one another don their rain gear.

The WSDOT provided safety vests, hard hats, gloves and road signs for the cleanup, and the process was fairly simple, Minch said.

According to both Jeff and Dayl Minch, the “big time” commitment is signing a four-year contract on a two-mile stretch of road. Last month’s cleanup action was just a trial run. The couple wants to see how many people are interested in the project. If they can get enough volunteers, they said they will commit to a four-year contract.

Volunteers Ayane Kawaai and Evelin Lundeen, both members of the Gig Harbor High School Key Club, said roadside trash bothered both of them and they were more than willing to help with the project.

“I decided to help cleanup the mess,” Kawaai said. The two paired up for the outing. Lundeen mirrored her friend’s sentiments. “I just wanted to do something productive. I don’t like seeing all the litter when I go by here,” she said.

Both girls were given the stretch of roadway below Peninsula High School to clean. Kawaai and Lundeen said they were proud to be helping out their neighboring school and community as a goodwill gesture.

The road cleanup took volunteers about two hours. They worked until they ran out of bags, and made a sizeable dent in the garbage, Jeff Minch said.

The crew picked up 100 very full trash bags, which were then picked up by WSDOT for disposal.

After the cleanup, the Minches invited all participants back to the Blend Wine Shop for a hot meal, which was provided by Lori Deacon, owner of Cape-E Farm and Vineyard.

Volunteers exchanged stories and expressed what a great experience it had been. To show their appreciation, the Minches handed out T-shirts to the volunteers to commemorate their community service efforts.

About one month later, Dayl Minch organized a second road cleanup where some 15 volunteers went back to the original location and picked up another 70 bags of garbage.

“We wanted to finish what we started,” she said.

Minch said the cleanup effort is a community project and the official road adoption will be brought to the “community table.”

“We will make a commitment if there is enough interest and plenty of volunteers,” she said.

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