By Beverly Stein, Tillamook County Master Recycler
Featuring a ten foot long wire mesh fish stuffed with plastic bags Tillamook County Master Recyclers are sponsoring a day of education about the impact of plastic pollution on our health and quality of life. Festivities for the whole family and educational displays will be in the 2nd Street Plaza in downtown Tillamook on April 27 from 10 am to 2 pm with a program scheduled for noon – 1 pm. Community members are urged to bring clean plastic bags to help stuff the fish sculpture. The fish will stay in the plaza through the month of May.

The guest speaker will be Vicki Penwell, a Forest Service employee for the past five years with Siuslaw National Forest she now serves as director of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. She will speak about the impact of plastic on shorebirds. The program will also feature a reading by third graders from South Prairie Elementary School of Myrtle the Turtle, a tale of a turtle who finds plastic in her ocean home. Sonia Kazen and Fred Bassett will perform an original song written for the event.
The Tillamook Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously for a resolution introduced by Commissioner Mary Faith Bell designating April 27 as Plastic Pollution Awareness Day. The resolution outlines concerns about plastic pollution and states: “As a coastal community, we are acutely aware of the health and importance of the ocean for marine life, our economy, and quality of life”. The resolution further indicates that residents of Tillamook County use nearly 9 million plastic bags a year and urged people to attend the event.

During the program there will be drawings for restaurant gift certificates. Elected officials doing the drawings for the certificates include Tillamook City Council President John Sandusky, Tillamook County Commissioner Mary Faith Bell, Wheeler Mayor Stevie Burden, Bay City Mayor Christopher Kruebbe, Rockaway City Councilor Nathan Beeman, State Rep. David Gomberg and State Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell. Restaurants providing certificates are The Schooner, Grateful Bread, Pelican Pub, Salmonberry Saloon, Offshore Grill, Pacific Restaurant and the Portside Bistro.
Updates on state and local efforts to ban single use carryout bags and how people can help with these initiatives will round out the program. Free reusable bags donated by City of Rockaway, Safeway and Fred Meyer will be given out to everyone who attends the event.
The Tillamook County Master Recyclers is a program of the Tillamook County Solid Waste Department.