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Orin Palmerton Sells His Arboretum to Preserve


A veteran of the Spanish-American War, Orin Palmerton, purchased five acres of land in the 1920s near the City of Rogue River, Ore., where he began planting many domestic and exotic trees from around the world.

Evans Creek slices through the property, a five-minute drive from downtown, as the creek flows toward the Rogue River.

Palmerton operated a nursery there for years before deciding to sell the pristine acreage to Jackson County in 1960. The City of Rogue River acquired it in 1994 from the county as part of the city’s park system.

Palmerton Park is an arboretum, a place for the study and exhibit of trees, with 96 distinct tree specimens from around the world, including Japanese pines, Mediterranean cedars, and large coastal redwoods native to Southern Oregon and Northern California.  The arboretum has numerous trees also found in Ashland’s Lithia Park, including maples, monkey puzzle, sassafras, ginkgo, tulip and mimosa.  The park exhibits azaleas, rhododendrons, and other plants and shrubs, and has paved walkways, a duck pond, picnic area, and even a miniature Golden Gate-like suspension bridge over Evans Creek.

The Medford Mail Tribune once called the park “the county’s best-kept secret.”

Sources: Fehrenbacher, Phil. A Guide to Community Arboretums in Oregon. Oregon Department of Forestry, Web. 21 Sept. 2014. http://www.oregon.gov/odf/urban_forests/docs/other_publications/arboretumguide.pdf. Darling, John. "Shhh! One of the county’s best-kept secrets." Mail Tribune 20 Nov. 2005 [Medford, Ore.] . Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

Dennis M. Powers was a business law attorney with various real estate and business ventures before teaching as a full professor and later professor emeritus at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado (b.a.), the University of Denver Law School (j.d.), and Harvard Business School (m.b.a.).