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Parks Uncorked 2019: Date and New Location Announced

The Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation in partnership with the Medford Rogue Rotary, has announced that the 2019 event will occur Friday, June 7 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at the Santo Community Center, Medford.

As shared at the event kick off by Rotary Event Chair, Jeff Benham and the Medford Parks Foundation Event Chair, Natalie Williams, “the decision to change locations from Pear Blossom Park to the Medford Santo Community Center, will allow this event to expand and reach new levels of support for local youth.  Adjusting the location will also alleviate the concern for the potential of adverse weather conditions or summer valley smoke the day off. We’ll also be able to offer many more vender and activities to our participants in a controlled environment setting.”

Each year, this sell out event raises funds that are used to provide scholarships for youth who wish to participate in Parks & Recreation programming as well as support academic youth programs that are offered by Medford Rogue Rotary.  To date, this event has raised over $174,000!

For more information on this years event or to donate an auction item or purchase an individual ticket or sponsor table, go here.

Ribbon-Cutting Set for Olsrud Family Community Playground

(Medford, Dec. 10, 2018) – One of the largest custom-built playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest opens to the public in Bear Creek Park in Medford this weekend. Following 14 months of planning, design, site preparation and assembly, the eagerly anticipated grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Olsrud Family Community Playground is set for Sat., Dec. 15 at 11 a.m., rain or shine. The event is open to the public.

“Just in time for Christmas, this imaginative playground is an amazing gift by the community to future generations of Medfordites,” Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities director Rich Rosenthal said. “It is a jewel that will be loved for generations, just like the original.” The City kicked off the effort to replace the popular 30-year-old wooden playground at the same location with a larger, modern and more accessible version on Oct. 26, 2017, when students from Roosevelt and Hoover elementary schools participated in a design charrette.

Named by the Medford City Council to honor the longtime philanthropy of the Sherm and Wanda Olsrud Family, the 18,000-square-foot castle-themed playground designed by Leathers & Associates is double the size of its predecessor. The new playground is made possible by the City of Medford, cash and in-kind donations from the community, and by nearly 1,100 volunteers, who, along with local contractors and City staff, assembled the structure over the past two months. The grassroots effort was coordinated by the Medford Parks and Recreation Department, JWA Public Affairs and the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation.

The Olsrud playground was designed to accommodate the children with special abilities to the greatest extent possible, including several custom features like the “Liberty Swing” that serves those using wheelchairs.

Ribbon-cutting attendees are advised to utilize Bear Creek Park parking lots off Alba Drive (adjacent to the ballfields) and Highland Drive.

Carpenter Foundation Makes $5K Grant to Playground Project

The is month, the Carpenter Foundation contributed a $5,000 grant toward the new Olsrud Family Community Playground at Bear Creek Park.  In the award letter, the Carpenter Foundation shared that it “appreciated the opportunity to meeting with Al Densmore and Rich Rosenthal (regarding the project)…which led to the Trustees awarding this sum to the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation in support of rebuilding the playground.”

The Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation and its board of directors, are so very grateful for the time and diligence that Medford Parks and Recreation Director, Rich Rosenthal and Volunteer Project Coordinator, Al Densmore provided in advocacy for this generous gift.

The Carpenter Foundation’s mission is to add opportunity, choice, inclusiveness, enrichment, and a climate for change for those living in the Rogue Valley.


V3 Consulting Founder Dave Tribbett to Join Foundation Board

V3 Consulting founder and CEO, Dave Tribbett, has joined the board of the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation. “Dave’s passion for Medford Parks, non-profit and business achievement and a drive toward organizational success, makes him a perfect fit to serve in this capacity,” shared Joe Brett, Board President, at the September board meeting. Dave has served as a longtime volunteer for the annual Parks Uncorked event, the Olsrud Family Community Playground project and in a variety of other foundation activities.

Dave is a graduate of North Medford, attended Rogue Community College and is a veteran of the U.S. Army. The Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation is pleased to have Dave Tribbett as its newest board member.

What’s Next for the Olsrud Family Community Playground?

October 24, 2018

To Medford Citizens, Volunteers, Staff, and Project Supporters,

Here is a status update on the Olsrud Family Community Playground

The playground is approximately 75 percent complete. Following the
enormously productive “community build” phase, Parks Division staff
completed structural assembly tasks not requiring supervision by the
playground manufacturer, Leathers & Associates.

On Mon., Oct. 22, crews began attaching over 4,000 interlocking
playground surface tiles to the concrete deck, a tedious task requiring dry
conditions. Each 2-by-2-foot rubber tile weighs in excess of 20 pounds.

Meanwhile, nearly all missing manufactured playground components are
due in Medford by or around Oct. 29. Consequently, we have identified the
first weekend of November (Nov. 3-4) for installation of these missing parts
in the required presence of a Leathers supervisor, so we again need
volunteer assistance for 8 a.m.-Noon and 12:30-4:30 p.m. shifts on both
Saturday and Sunday.

Specifically, we’re asking the construction captains (“the yellow shirts”) and
previous volunteers to help Parks staff complete playground assembly in
hopes of having a ribbon-cutting ceremony the second weekend of
November. If we’re short on volunteer help from the core group, we’ll issue
a broader call for assistance.

Lastly, we calculated 1,083 volunteers (!!!) worked at least one shift during
the community build phase Sept. 29-Oct. 6, and over $335,000 has been
raised to date in cash and in-kind contributions. Personalized fence pickets and a select number of playground features are still available for purchase
or sponsorship. We are working on permanent site signage to acknowledge
the amazing community efforts on behalf of the Olsrud Family Community

We’re eager to complete this unique project and to see the joy of children
using the playground. Thanks for your help and patience … the finish line is
in sight!


Rich Rosenthal

Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director City of Medford (Ore.)


Medford Rogue Rotary Club Raises Over $32K for Olsrud Playground Project

(Medford, Sept. 12, 2018) — Medford Rogue Rotary today presented the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation with a $25,000 contribution for construction of the Olsrud Family Community Playground at Bear Creek Park. The check represents the first stage in the club’s efforts to support the playground project; additional pledges are still being collected, and the final contribution from the Medford Rogue Rotary Club will exceed $32,000.

“That is in addition to the volunteers we are mobilizing to help on-site,” club president Jeanne Stallman said. “We are aiming for close to 100 percent participation from our 200 club members, whether through giving money or time. We helped build the original playground 30 years ago, and we are excited about rebuilding it for the next 30 years!”

Club member Natalie Hansen is inspired to contribute both time and money to the park rebuild effort. Hansen said, “When I first moved to town, I had a two-year-old and an infant. Everyone said Bear Creek Park was the place to go, where the kids could play and I could meet other parents. I am still friends with people I met there, and now I take my grandchildren to the park! I want to make sure there’s a great playground for new mothers for years to come.”

“The Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation thanks the Medford Rogue Rotary members for their continued support with fundraising efforts that provide opportunities for children and families to recreate, play, and engage with our outstanding Parks Department’s programs and facilities,” Foundation president Joe Brett said.

Medford Rogue Rotary is one of five Rotary clubs in Medford, all of which are involved in the Bear Creek playground rebuild. Rotary is an international organization committed to “a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” For more information about Rotary and Medford Rogue, visit

“The Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department is grateful for the longtime generous philanthropy and enthusiastic volunteerism of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club,” department director Rich Rosenthal said. “This organization routinely exhibits servant leadership in monumental community building projects such as the Olsrud Family Community Playground.”


Foundation presents city with $17,093 Scholarship Check

The Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation presents check to the City of Medford to benefit youth recreation program scholarships. These funds make it possible for many kids to participate in swim lessons, day camps, preschool and youth sports. Contributions to the Play Every Day Scholarship Fund makes a huge positive impact and provides a great service to the community.  If you or your business would like to donate to the scholarship fund, you can make your tax deductible gift here.

(featured from left to right: Rich Rosenthal, Director -Parks and  Recreation, Raul Woerner-Foundation board member, Joe Brett-Foundation President, Carla Paladino-Foundation board member and Mayor, Gary Wheeler)

Parks Uncorked 2018 Breaks Fundraising Record

It’s official!  This year’s event surpassed its goal of $25,000 to raise $27,320!  That means that the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation and the Medford Rogue Rotary will split the proceeds equally in support of local youth programs.  A very special thank you to this year’s event chairs, Natalie Williams (Medford Parks Foundation) and Jeff Benham (Medford Rogue Rotary).  It was because of their leadership and hands-on approach, this event broke the all time fundraising record.  We look forward to Parks Uncorked 2019.

Watch the Olsrud Family Community Playground Build on Facebook

Are you excited for the new Olsrud Family Community Playground at Bear Creek Park?  Want to watch the playground being built as it happens each week?  Catch all the action on the Foundation’s Facebook page.