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Over the Top Against Flame

The war in Europe was in its second year and all United States was becoming military- minded. Planning the project as a military campaign held popular appeal. Jacob Kanzler, at the time secretary of the Civic Bureau, was appointed field marshal of Portland’s clean-up forces. The city was divided into twelve districts, with a clean-up day allotted to each. Prominent citizens from each district served as captains or lieutenants who enlisted all their neighbors into the clean-up army.

Three days before the attack was to be centered upon a district, a “flying squadron” of firemen conducted a house-to-house canvass, stirring up public interest and distributing handbills with working plans for the drive as follows: A thorough Clean-up and Paint-up campaign carried out in each district will accomplish the following results.

  • 1.

    Will make Portland the cleanest city in the United States.

  • 2.

    Will make Portland the most healthful city in the world.

  • 3.

    Will multiply Portland’s natural beauty.

  • 4.

    Will greatly increase safety of life and property from fire.

  • 5.

    Will make Portland ready to entertain the many visitors who are coming to see our Rose Festival, Columbia River Highway and the many wonders of the great Northwest.

  • 6.

    Will influence every man, woman and child to keep Portland clean during the entire year.

Some of the clean-up suggestions were:

  • a)

    Clean-up and paint-up your promises first -- from cellar to garret -- now.

  • b)

    Remove or bury all rubbish which cannot be burned or sold on your district clean- up day.

  • c)

    Plant roses, shrubs and flowers.

  • d)

    Keep grass cut and lawn trimmed.

  • e)

    Vacant lots should be cleaned and rubbish burned.

  • f)

    Plow and plant potatoes wherever possible.

  • g)

    Rubbish which cannot be burned will be removed by the city.

  • h)

    Pile non-burnable rubbish along the curbs of hard-surfaced streets only, as five- ton trucks cannot operate on wet dirt streets.

  • i)

    Make rubbish heaps as large as possible on the curbs.

  • j)

    Lieutenants will please report the immediate street location of all rubbish heaps to their district captains.

  • k)

    Captains should promptly report all rubbish heaps to Field Marshal Kanzler.

The flying squadron checked over every foot of the territory, making note of unsatisfactory conditions, and turned their findings over to district captains, who were concentrating the attack of their forces upon these specific points.

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