Raymond Block

Photo by Paul Neevel

“I love nature,” says Raymond Block, founder of Leaven No Trace, an organization dedicated to cleaning up roadside trash in western Oregon. “I’m trying to be a voice for the animals, who do not have a voice. They are our roommates on the planet, but we’re not treating them well.” Block, who lives in Reedsport, is currently picking up trash along Oregon Route 126 between Florence and Eugene. He clears about one mile per day on both sides of the road, using a squeeze-handle trash grabber to fill plastic bags, some with the stenciled word CARE, others with an on-the-spot spray-painted emoji, and leaves them beside the road. “I go out on a 10-day run,” he elaborates, “then back to Reedsport for three days.” The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) in Lane County has been cooperative in allowing the bags to remain in public view for a couple of days before hauling them away. “It’s all about awareness,” Block says. “This Walk for Awareness will go as far as milepost 56, on the outskirts of Eugene.” Block’s personal awareness emerged after moving from Arizona to Coos Bay in 2012. “I was driving down Libby Lane on a regular basis,” he reports, “and I noticed how trash was accumulating and spreading out.” Soon afterward, he began to devote half his working hours to trash cleanup, and in 2015 he quit his handyman job to launch Leaven No Trace and become a full-time picker-upper. His first Walk for Awareness took seven months, from July 2017 to February 2018, and spanned the length of U.S. Highway 101 in Oregon, 734 miles from the California border to the Columbia River. His companions on these outings are his mom Christy, who comes up from Arizona to help out with camping and cooking chores and to greet motorists who stop by, and his dog Leaven, who knows how to stay off the road. Learn more at LeavenNoTrace.org.

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