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About Ground Score Association

Our Mission: Ground Score Association is an association of informal recyclers, waste pickers, canners, dumpster divers, and other environmental workers who create and fill low-barrier waste management jobs in Portland, Oregon.


Ground Score is collectively-organized and radically inclusive, prioritizing work opportunities for those facing work and housing insecurity. 

Ground Score seeks to build a more environmentally and socially aware community while changing society's perceptions of what and who is considered valuable.

Two Ground Score workers in wheelchairs rolling down a sidewalk in Portland, Oregon with a red wagon to go provide tentside waste collection and litter pickup as part of our GLITTER program. There is a garbage can with PDX on it in the shot.
Ground Score Association Pathway to Housing

Ground Score has directly hired 55 members of the community, over 95% of whom were formerly or currently are houseless.

Since having started working for Ground Score, over 70% of unhoused workers have become housed.

Ground Score Association Benefits
Ground Score Association's Accomplishments
Ground Score Association Digital Inclusion

Because of Ground Score, our team is able to provide life-saving support services, including stable income, digital equity training, CPR/first-aid training, de-escalation training, and resource navigation support—including support with re-entry into the formal workforce.

Ground Score pays a living wage and ensures that all workers have access to supportive social benefits like healthcare. Ground Score also supports workers to access housing, addiction treatment, mental health services, legal identification, and other services.

Photo of four workers wearing masks and Ground Score shirts in front of a mural in Portland Oregon. The mural has four panels that, from left to right, depict an orange candle on a yellow background, a peach ladder on a pink background, a flying swallow on a white background, and a bust of a woman with pink flowers in her hair facing left on a white background. The wall around the mural panels is dark green.


"this job saved my life."


Ground Score Association Results
Ground Score Association The People's Depot Result
Ground Score Association G.L.I.T.T.E.R. Program results
Ground Score Association How We Organize
Two workers in blue Ground Score vests wearing helmets and giving thumbs up on two adult tricycles with large white bins mounted in the front heading out to pick up trash and provide essential services along City of Portland funded G.L.I.T.T.E.R. routes. They are on the road in Old Town, and there is a colorful mural with a rainbow umbrella design on a building behind them. A rainbow Pride banner is mounted beside that mural on a plain gray side of a building. Three vehicles are parked along the side of the street. Green tree foliage is visible in the upper left corner of the image.

Ground Score Association is a peer-led initiative, organized and led by and for workers who identify as canners, scrappers, dumpster divers, waste pickers, and/or ground scorers. Ground Score holds quarterly General Assemblies to facilitate training, develop policies collectively, vote on policy changes, elect leaders, and foster the democratic growth of the association.

An elected Labor Council helps to resolve disputes and develop new policy proposals, and an elected Workers Council helps to guide Ground Score’s organizational vision and represent workers. 

Ground Score workers are paid a minimum $20/hour, and we work to ensure that payroll and non-payroll workers have access to social protections and other supportive benefits. Our payscale and benefits are constantly being evaluated to ensure that a living wage is provided.

An older woman with light skin, wavy reddish hair just past shoulder length, a khaki top with a black area in the middle, and blue bottoms with a white pattern standing outside posing in Portland, Oregon. She is a Ground Score worker standing in front of a side of the People's Depot shipping container, which is light purple. The words "By Canners For Canners" are painted in dark colors on the container and appear right above her head.

Ground Score Association is fiscally sponsored by Trash for Peace, a 501c3 organization, 

EIN: 45-4715889

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