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August 14, 2022
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Arbor Month grant from Oregon Community Trees will help Medford honor fallen police officer with plaque

MEDFORD, Ore. – A grant from Oregon Community Trees will help the City of Medford honor a police officer who died trying to rescue swimmers.  Medford is one of five Tree City USA communities across Oregon receiving a grant this spring to boost tree-related activities in April. 

The $500 matching grant to Medford will cover half the cost of a permanent granite boulder plaque to mark the Colorado blue spruce being dedicated as a Medford Heritage Tree. The City of Medford paid the remaining half. The tree was planted in honor of Medford Police Officer Ken Mainwaring in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park, named for him and another fallen Medford police officer. 

Officer Mainwaring’s life focus was working with various local youth programs. He was a detective and crime prevention officer in Medford and was vice chairman of the Oregon Crime Prevention Officers Association. His life focus was working with various local youth programs. He died in June 1974 at the age of 31 while on a two-day backpacking trip with troubled youth from the Lincoln Center. He was trying to help some swimmers who were struggling in the Rogue River about three miles downstream from Grave Creek when he disappeared. His body was recovered about a week later at Devil’s Stair near Blossom Bar. Colorado blue spruce was chosen as a memorial as it was his favorite tree, according to his family.

The formal dedication of the tree and memorial plaque will be held during Medford’s Pear Blossom/Arbor Day event on Saturday, April 9 and will be open to family, friends and the public who wish to honor Officer Mainwaring’s service and life. For more information on the Pear Blossom event, visit http://pearblossomparade.org/

Other communities receiving grants include:

  • Bandon – creating a community mural celebrating trees in City Park.
  • Hillsboro - nature-themed prizes, materials and supplies supporting a variety of educational activities for children and adults, including a tree identification scavenger hunt.
  • Pendleton – a large tree for a free raffle and educational materials.
  • Rivergrove - four native species trees to be planted in a localcity park with students from Rivergrove Elementary School’s “Green Team” and watering supplies.

Since 2014 Oregon Community Trees has supported 38 different communities with these grants. Made up of arborists, urban planners, community activists, foresters and others interested in trees, the non-profit group’s mission is to promote healthy urban and community forests through leadership, education, awareness, and advocacy. 

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