Trail Blazers, Daimler Trucks 5-Year Partnership Features Enviornmental Initiative

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Daimler Trucks North America CEO & President Martin Daum receives a jersey from Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan commemorating their new five-year corporate partnership.

On Tuesday morning the Portland Trail Blazers announced their biggest corporate partnership since the re-naming of the Rose Garden to the Moda Center.

But in a similar vain of trying to encourage healthy living with their partnership with Moda Health, their latest partnership comes with a twist of community involvement.

As part of the partnership with Daimler, the Trail Blazers have also partnered with the volunteer organization “Friends Of Trees” to create the “Threes For Threes” initiative.

For every three-pointer made, there will be three new trees planted in the area of the Sandy River Delta known as “The Thousand Acres.”

“The Sandy River has been, since Lewis & Clark’s arrival, has been damned and cut and channelized and invasive species have taken over a lot of the area,” said Friends Of Trees Executive Director Scott Fogerty. “We want to restore it back to a time when the native peoples were in the area and used it for fishing and hunting and clean water as well.”

2014 was the first Smelt run in 40 years on the Sandy River, which had the Marmot dam removed from the river in 2012.

Here’s a the logo that that will be shown in the arena for the initiative whenever the Blazers make a three at home.

IMG_3678Fogerty said that he initially pitched the idea to the Blazers nearly four years ago during one of the NBA’s first “green games,” prior to the regime change that saw McGowan come to town.

The Blazers had heard from their fans through surveys that they wanted the team to be more involved in Enviromental issues. According to the Blazers, 80 percent of their fans who were surveyed said that they would be supportive of companies and causes that support the environment which includes the Trail Blazers.

“We definitely keep that in mind when we talk about how we operate,” said Blazers CEO and President Chris McGowan on the importance of environmental involvement to their fans. “I inherited a great legacy with setting a standard in professional sports. We’re known in the industry for being one of the most sustainable arenas in the world. It’s a culture. It’s part of our culture. Our employees like being a part of initiatives that are focused on being green and sustainability and obviously our owner is as well.”

While Fogerty was the first to pitch the “Threes For Trees” initiative, it was the Blazers who got Daimler involved as the sponsor, which essentially sealed the partnership.

“I wanted us not to be another logo in a great arena. I wanted to do something meaningful and the combination of sport and environment was just perfect,” said Daimler Trucks CEO and President Martin Daum. “Therefore we immediately supported the initiative when Chris pitched in the first time. It was a three-pointer. Or a 5 pointer. We did a five-year agreement.”

Daum is a big basketball fan and joked that he used to play small forward long ago. The partnership, from Daimler’s perspective, allows them to broaden their footprint in the Portland area through sports as well as education programs. They already have a partnership with the Portland Timbers.

The Blazers have been on the forefront, when it comes to major sports teams, with regards to social issues. Last season the Blazers, as well as the city’s two soccer teams the Thorns and Timbers, came out in support of a same-sex ballot measure in Oregon. Incorporating community driven initiatives with corporate sponsorships continues to be a staple of the Blazers organization under McGowan.

For “Friends of Trees,” it gives them exposure that would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.

“It’s exposure. 20,00 people come in here and when they see our logos on the ticker after a 3 points we are more apt to have a connection with people that live here,” Fogerty said. “We are a volunteer organization and hope it spurs people to come and volunteer¬† with us. It’s a huge volunteer proponent of our efforts in the neighborhood.”

McGowan said that the Blazers relationship with the “Friends of Trees” will go beyond just the planting of trees in the Sandy River Delta and that today’s announcement is just the start of the organization’s commitment to the environment.

“Although we have a goal and it’s tied to three pointers this is something our organization is going to be involved with beyond the Sandy River delta and we are excited about how long this partnership is.¬†The ability to do things and build on what we are developing today.”

Just last week, Blazers and Seahawks owner Paul Allen donated $9 million to the Center for Disease Control to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

 

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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