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Expansion of the Clean Start Program

Oregonians can expect to see more jobs and cleaner streets

Clean Start worker standing in front of truck. Photo courtesy of Central City Concern website.


Central City Concern (CCC) announced the regional expansion of the Clean Start Program thanks to a combined investment from Governor Kotek’s Strategic Reserve Fund and Multnomah County totaling $2.5 million. Established in 1996, Clean Start provides trash, graffiti removal and cleaning services to the Portland metro area. Clean Start is one piece of CCC’s larger economic development strategy.


Since its inception, Clean Start has removed millions of pounds of trash and needles from Portland’s streets. Over six months, trainees in the program receive peer mentoring while learning critical job skills and building confidence for future employment opportunities. Trainees are connected to CCC’s wraparound services, including supportive housing, integrated health care, addiction treatment, employment assistance and more. Most trainees exit the program with long-term employment and housing.


With this investment, CCC’s geographic footprint will expand to include cleanup of Oregon’s highway corridors, select business districts, specialized teams deployed to areas highly impacted by growing trash issues and specialized graffiti removal teams. Clean Start is expected to ramp up within 60 days and be at full capacity within six months. CCC anticipates hiring 25 new employees from a range of partners, including the Department of Corrections, various affordable housing development and shelter providers, and CCC’s own Parole to Transition Program. CCC will partner in innovative ways to hire, with a focus on people with lived experience of homelessness and those who have been involved with the justice system.


“CCC is honored to be the steward of this investment from the state and county,” says President and CEO Dr. Andy Mendenhall. “Oregon is emerging from one of the toughest times in our state's history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment creates jobs for folks in transition and recovery. Our Clean Start workers contribute to cleaner and safer streets and hope for the future of our community. I can’t think of a better way to invest taxpayer dollars than by providing living wage jobs while simultaneously responding to the homeless crisis in our community. Our thanks to Governor Kotek and Chair Vega Pederson for their vision and leadership.”

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