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Puyallup City Councilmember Robin Farris is seeking volunteers to join her “One-Woman Clean-Up Crew” which serves to improve the appearance of highly visible locations in the interest of community aesthetics, cohesion and pride.
Since May of last year, the crew has worked to clean up various sites including store frontages along Meridian in the downtown, the 7th Avenue bridge by Kalles Junior High, and the post office. They’ve removed moss from pavement, picked up leaves, trimmed bushes and weeded planting areas. They’ve also collected and disposed of a large amount of litter.
Councilmember Farris established this crew because of the broken windows theory, which holds that a small but easily visible amount of aesthetic degradation in a community can, if left unchecked, gradually lead to further and more intense degradation.
“It’s a problem when people get used to seeing garbage around,” she said. “Research has shown that even this simple and seemingly benign kind of disorder in a community can be linked to more serious crimes.”
Puyallup residents Diane Henke and Bob Duris have assisted Councilmember Farris in several of the clean-ups, donating hours of their time. Henke and Duris share Farris’s view that responsible citizens should be active participants in making their community how they want it to be.
“I feel that part of my job in being a leader is to model the kinds of things that all of us should be doing,” said Farris. “Anyone who knows me knows that my history is as an activist. I put myself out there in order to effect and inspire change, and to influence others to take an active part in our community. Working together connects us to each other, and that’s one of the things I want for Puyallup.”