This phrase "Mend Medford" is not new for me. Back in college I branded a Medford Economic Development Project I did under the title, "Mend Medford". At the time I appreciated the alliteration, but more importantly I felt the weightiness this idea carried to help change the narrative of Medford. For I believe we are seeing this mending process happen now but we must continue pursuing a more knit together community.
There are some obvious qualities to Mend Medford that are apparent on the face of this concept. There is also deep significance within these two words. To mend means to set right, remove defects, improve, make something whole again, and bring or knit back together. The city of Medford was named by David Loring in 1883 because it was the middle ford to Bear Creek, it is the town that bridged and brought two sides of land together.
Now, when you drive through the entirety of Medford you can easily see the unfortunate disjointedness that exists; just look at I-5, it is a tangible divider between the "better" and "worse" sides of town. Then take a drive down Main Street and you'll see old and abandoned, restored and glamorous, modern and clean, vintage and aging, colorful and retro, outdated and bland, local and corporate, broken and new.
Many of us see the potential that exists here. Throughout the history of Medford, citizens, businesses, nonprofits, and others have done what they can themselves do to see Medford develop a bit more into a town they hope it can become. But discouragement, debt, depression, division, drugs, and development are heavy words that have had a negative impact on what Medford's story has been. However, I believe there is a missing key that exists between why Medford has become what it currently is and why there are many who want to see change happen now...
The key is Mend Medford. I see a city where businesses collaborate instead of compete, communities and people groups help one another instead of promote their own agenda, organizations and non-profits champion one another instead of vying for capital, and citizens care for their neighbors instead of complain to their city.
"Mended" is about believing in the power of connectivity. The Mended mindset acknowledges what is broken and forms a plan for renewal and healing. "Mended" creates cohesion and harmony. "Mended" listens and responds, instead of reacting and enforcing. "Mended" believes in the power of connectivity.
When a bone is broken, it must undergo a process of being reset, during which it needs to be supported and given time to heal. But when that break is properly cared for the bone is mended back together and becomes even stronger than it was previously.
This is what it will take to Mend Medford: We must find the breaks and divisions by listening, looking, and learning. We must come together and create opportunities for reconciliation. We must be steady, committed, care for the process. This is what it will take to Mend Medford, for we will become stronger together.