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New Program to put Panhandlers to Work in Portland 

It’s a win for everyone involved.

That’s what organizers are saying about a new program in Portland designed to get panhandlers off the medians, and put to work.

The “Portland Opportunity Crew” gives panhandlers an opportunity to clean up public areas in exchange for minimum wage.

Participants can work up to two shifts a week for several hours a day.

Officials say it benefits the city and gives those in need an opportunity to break the panhandling cycle.

“They’re going to get people saying the park looks great – thank you for doing that. And I think it’s a good – it’s a good transition from having that being harassed out on a median to being thanked while you’re doing some hard work.” Says Program Organizer, Matt Pryor.

“Well, I like to get out and help the community, help pick up trash and give me something to do.” Says Sean O’Brien, a program participant.

Program clients have already collected more than thirty bags of trash, according to organizers.

There are plans to continue through the fall.