GLEAN: to gather, collect bit by bit, or pick over in search of relevant material


Keep watch here for the Call to Artists to be announced in December


GLEAN is a partnership between Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities, Metro, the regional government that guides the region’s garbage and recycling systems, and crackedpots.

Taking its inspiration from Recology San Francisco’s renowned Artist in Residence program, GLEAN’s mission is to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate.

In February 2017, a jury of arts and environmental professionals will choose five new artists to participate in the program.  The artists will have five months to glean materials from the Metro Central transfer station (aka the "dump") from which to make their art. 

If you would like to be added to the notification list for future Calls for Artists and Exhibition notices please sign up here:

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What's the transfer station?

Up until the early 1990s, most regions around the country still had local “dumps” where the community’s waste was taken. Due to concerns about public health and the environment, as well as increasing regulations, most of these local landfills began to close.

As communities struggled to figure out what to do with their waste, large waste management companies began construction of “mega-landfills” in remote locations designed to accept waste from hundreds of miles away. This new system created a new challenge — how could waste picked up by small, local garbage trucks be transported over such long distances?

The solution was to build transfer stations where waste from local garbage haulers and citizens could be processed and reloaded onto long-haul trucks, freight trains and even barges, in some instances.
The Portland region’s waste is trucked 150 miles to the 2,000-acre Columbia Ridge Landfill in eastern Oregon. While we can be very proud of our 56.8% diversion rate, we still send more than a million tons of waste to landfills each year. Ouch.