EUGENE, Or--The coordinator of the Eugene Scuba Dive Club, Jim Emery said he could not believe how much stuff was on the bottom of the Mckenzie River the first time he made the trip twelve years ago.
He finds tons of trash but he routinely finds evidence from crimes dumped in the water. He said the reason many of these divers chose to help out goes beyond them just doing their jobs.
Aside from finding typical items like toilets, tires, glass and cans in the river, Jim Emery says they have found a shot gun, stolen lock boxes and a file cabinet from a woman that was robbed. Each year he finds less trash, especially evidence-based, because people are now realizing these divers will find it.
“There’s less car parts, there’s less tires and I think maybe less illegal stuff because I think people are figuring out they're not throwing it over and never been seen again...we're going to find it on our next clean up," Emery said.
The divers fill up dumpsters worth of trash each trip. Emery says they continue to do these clean ups because they don't want the water to be polluted, especially because it's our drinking water.
Emery says people should always wear water shoes because you never know what's at the bottom of the river. He says the divers choose to volunteer because they want to make sure the river is safe for the whole community and they have the skills to make it happen.
“We dive in and we don’t like to see cans and bottles and paint cans and trash down below there. We have the skills necessary and we like to get out and do our part. Even though you can't see it from up above there just know it’s a little bit cleaner when we leave than we came," Emery said.
Emery says that Eugene has the best diving community he's ever seen. He encourages people to get certified.