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Local editorials

Historical replicas in Jacksonville serve as monument to his vision

Robertson Collins was a man of the world, but he was also was a man of a small town in Southern Oregon.

Collins, known as Robby to his friends, died May 23 at age 81 in his hometown of Singapore.

While he recently lived in Singapore and traveled the world, Collins was best known here for his work in first protecting and then improving Jacksonville. He is credited with much of the vision that turned the faded gold-mining town into a historical treasure.

Collins became involved with preserving Jacksonville's history when he successfully fought state plans to build a four-lane highway through the middle of town. He recalled in a 1995 interview that after his success he was approached by the late Glenn Jackson, chairman of the state Highway Commission, who demanded, Now that you've saved this damn town, what are you going to do with it?

What he did with it was turn it into a premier tourism destination. Once the owner of a small mill, he reinvented himself as a communtiy development specialist and then coaxed and badgered townspeople into embracing the idea of preserving the past. Those efforts paid off with Jacksonville's designation as a National Historic Landmark and with the thriving economy and vibrant town that exists today.

— Collins' efforts also created his new career that would take him around the world as a redevelopment specialist. He worked in Manila, Hong Kong, Australia, China, Hungary and many other places. He developed a tourism plan for the famed Angkor Wat shrines and helped create the Billion Dollar Plan for revitalizing Singapore. He helped lead the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Pacific Area Travel Association.

But he never forgot his roots in Jacksonville, where he and a partner recently built two historical replicas of buildings from the mid-1800s. It was one more contribution to the city he loved.

While those buildings will help serve as a reminder of Robby Collins and what he meant to the community, he needs no monument. The city is his monument.

Cancer fight is worth effort Did you know that every minute of every day two people find out they have cancer? Or that 1,500 people a day die of cancer ' the equivalent toll of two jumbo jets crashing? Or did you know that about 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year?

More significant, did you know that 9 million cancer survivors are alive today because of early detection cancer screening and advances in treatment?

These figures from the American Cancer Society graphically point out the seriousness of the disease and the need to participate in the fund-raising events sponsored by the Cancer Society annually.

The Cancer Society's signature fund-raising event is its Relays for Life, which, over the past 18 years, have spread to 3,300 communities in the United States and eight other countries.

Despite the seriousness of cancer statistics, there have been gains, thanks to the more than &

36;100 million that goes into cancer research annually, says Allen Brood, community development manager for the Cancer Society here.

In the Relays for Life, teams raise money by pledging to keep one member walking on the track for the duration of the event. Brood plans to walk in at least five southwestern Oregon events this year. All of us should be willing to participate, donate, or pledge to one or more of the events. After all, cancer could visit you or your family at any time.

Those who wish to participate may call the Medford office of the American Cancer Society, 779-6092.