Community Projects, Environment and Health (part 1)

Show Summary - July 13, 2009

Guest: Brady Adams

Brady Adams (Grants Pass, OR), President of Evergreen Bank. "Health of the Community Environment (Part 1)"

Brady Adams is the longtime President of Evergreen Bank in Grants Pass, Oregon, and a well-known activist for community improvement. He was invited as a guest because of Sharon Kleyne's interest in making her show a classroom for environmental health, including the health of the local community environment.

Mr. Adams was born in Vanport, Oregon, a factory town completely obliterated in a flood in 1949. His family was extremely poor and although he personally succeeded as a banker, he was always acutely aware that people sometimes need help and that he has an obligation to make his community a better place. As a result, he's served on over 20 non-profit boards and is past President of the Oregon Senate.

The Evergreen Bank was founded in 1934 and is one of two remaining "mutual" banks in Oregon, started by a special government fund after the local banks failed. These banks were required to be depositor owned rather than shareholder owned. Thus, their obligation to the community is greater than their obligation to shareholders.

Evergreen gives back to the extent it does because the bank has been extremely profitable in recent years, and also because it is good business. They have not and will not accept federal bailout money.

Brady is an ardent fan of Grants Pass, located on the banks of the Rogue River. He calls it the "best river town in America" and has initiated many projects to draw attention to this fact for the sake of local pride and tourism.

Mr. Adams believes that a healthy community should provide a positive experience for its residents, "young and old, rich and poor, lifelong or newcomer."

One of the ways he has accomplished this is through street art projects, beginning with the 2003 and 2004 "Bear Fests" in which 60 local artists were asked to decorate oversized, fiberglass bears, which were then placed around the downtown area. The bears significantly increased downtown foot traffic, drivers passing by would often stop their cars and get out for a closer look, and the bears became a shared and much discussed community experience.

Bear Fest was followed by "Magical Musical Christmas Murals," another Bear Fest, an Eagle Fest, Imagination Village, the Doors of Oregon (in which artists decorated the doors of a local landmark motel that had been demolished), and other projects.

The latest Evergreen project is their development on the site of the old Riverside Motel. When the bank acquired the beautiful riverside property after its restaurant burned down, instead of selling it to another developer, they tore down the motel, build a new restaurant and developed the remainder of the property into a park with trails, waterfalls, benches and wildlife statuary, to better link the downtown area with the river.

Hellgate Jet Boats, another excellent community activity, is located across the street from the new park. Riverside Park is just across the river. Other outstanding regional attractions include the Grants Pass First Friday, Grower's Market and Boatnick Festival; Josephine County's Amazin' May, the Josephine County Fair, Oregon Caves National Monument, Wildlife Images, the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River, the Illinois and Applegate Rivers, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland), the Peter Britt Music and Arts Festival (Jacksonville), Crater Lake National Park, Wildlife Safari (Winston), the Oregon Coast, Redwood National Park, Mt. Shasta, Lava Beds National Monument and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge just to name a few.

Categories: Outdoor Recreation