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TUKWILA, Wash. -- The Duwamish River in Tukwila is getting a little more breathing room each week as a coalition of volunteers from eight companies make caring for the river banks part of their job description.

It started when a Boeing Employee Credit Union quality assurance manager got tired of seeing the invasive blackberries and other plants choking off the river banks and smothering the native plants.

BECU Quality Assurance Manager Mike Arizona decided to spend his break time cutting, digging and pulling away the non-native cover.

Soon his co-workers started helping and his company endorsed the project. The Restore the Duwamish Shoreline Challenge was born.

Now, employees of BECU, FedEx, Forterra, The City of Tukwila and other businesses are all pitching in. They re not just cutting back the thorny blackberries; they re getting to the root of problem, which most gardeners know requires serious digging and pulling.

Soon the little opening Arizona cleared expanded into a mile and half of shoreline, where the invasive species were pulled and replaced with 1,500 native plants, which will be nurtured by the group until they take root and take back the river.

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