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Founder of Community Works dies

Longtime family and children advocate Arnold "Arnie" Green, who created Community Works in Medford and served as its director for more than a decade, has died.

Green passed away Tuesday at age 62 in his rural White City-area home.

"He was going to help anyone who needed help in any way he could to make their lives better," said Dee Anne Everson, director of United Way of Jackson County. "He was a dyed-in-the-wool community organizer and social worker before people knew what that meant."

Everson, who first met him in 1995, called him a legend in both his work and his life.

"He was definitely a force to be reckoned with when it came to helping children and their families," she said.

Ann Marie Hutson, founder and first director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program, agreed.

"His heart and soul was in helping kids have a better life," Hutson said. "He was a presence, a wonderful human being totally dedicated to kids. ... It's sad. He definitely had more work to do."

In an e-mail to those who knew Green, Alan Berlin, executive director of Southern Oregon Head Start, also expressed sadness at his death.

"I recall how Arnie was always ready to chain himself to the courthouse door in advocacy for children and his frequent and stirring columns in the Medford Mail Tribune," Berlin wrote on Thursday. "He made himself always available to me as a mentor when I begin my career as an executive director, and remained a source of wisdom, advice, and support as I grew in experience."

After reading a statewide report in 2005 about the 61 percent increase of child rape, physical assault, abuse and neglect during the previous 10 years, Green wrote one of his many op-ed pieces for the Mail Tribune. The overwhelmed and under-resourced system was able to provide a full assessment for only 20,552 of those 42,555 reports, he noted.

" . . .the problem is not with individual caseworkers or their supervisors," he wrote. "They are doing some of the hardest work in our community. They are witness to crimes against children that boggle the imagination. They deserve all our praise and gratitude. The problem is with a political system that can stand by and let this happen."

Green, who retired from Community Works in the fall of 2007, started it in 1996, almost 20 years after he launched Star Gulch Ranch, a youth residential treatment center in the Applegate Valley. Community Works grew to include nearly 20 programs which provided resources for everyone from at-risk teens to victims of domestic violence.

Green created Community Works after determining that clients in the region would be better served if there was one organization looking after their needs, Everson said, adding that he went through the difficult process of merging those groups.

"He created Community Works because he had the vision," Everson said.

The bottom line, she said, was that Green made the world a better place. While there is no services planned, he can be honored by his friends and those who knew of him by doing something in his honor, she said.

"Mourn Arnie's passing and do a good deed," she suggested. "Do something good for someone in need. It could be a person in a grocery store or an elderly person who just needs help getting across the street."

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.