EUGENE, Ore. – About 20 scuba divers from the Eugene Dive Club cleaned up parts of the McKenzie River between Hayden Bridge and Armitage Park on Saturday.
Members of the Eugene Dive Club said their message is clear -- they want to keep rivers and waterways clean for people to enjoy.
Sleeping bags, cans and a pipe were some of the items the divers pulled from the river.
Jim Emery, the event coordinator, said in previous years, they’ve found evidence from crimes dumped in the water.
Emery said the cleanup mission started about 10 years ago when he was shocked by what he saw in the river.
"I came up here for the fun of it to help a guy who lost his kayak and while I was down there, I found the trash and it really made me feel bad,” Emery said. “I called six or seven of my diver buddies and said hey, let's spend a Saturday and go clean up some of this stuff. We got so much stuff we said, we're going to do this on an event basis.”
Emery said the trip following the first, the team of six or seven divers grew to 30.
Along with cleaning, safety for the divers played a huge role in their mission.
Emery even warned floaters about the condition of the water before they got in.
"We warned them all. Be careful on the bottom,” he said. “There is glass and cans. Wear water shoes and for Pete’s sake, wear a vest. Always wear a vest when you’re on the water."
The divers have all been through extensive training for their diving certifications. The group even included divers from the sheriff's Search and Rescue team.
Emery said anyone that knows how to dive or anyone wanting to learn how to dive can get involved with their cleanup mission.
To get involved, he said to call the Eugene Skin Diver’s Supply store at (541) -342-2351.
To learn more about the Eugene Dive Club, you can visit their website here.