The organizer of a well-attended bee memorial in Wilsonville said he will put together a similar event in Hillsboro if it turns out those deaths could have been avoided, too. by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kent Addleman of Tigard who is a third-generation beekeeper, addresses his concerns in front of about 100 people during a bee memorial at the parking lot at Wilsonville Target.

Oregon Department of Agriculture officials said it may take months to determine what killed hundreds of bees in Hillsboro late last month. The city sprayed the trees where the bees died with “Safari” — the same pesticide that killed more than 50,000 bees in Wilsonville, according to agriculture officials.

More than 100 people braved scorching summer temperatures on Sunday to attend the memorial in the Wilsonville Target parking lot, where trees had been sprayed with Safari in early June.

“I thought maybe 10 or 15 friends of mine might show up, so I’m very pleased,” said organizer Rozzell Medina, a self-described artist and education activist.

As Medina sees it, bees are essential to agriculture, and the deaths in Wilsonville were easily avoidable. Some of those who attended the memorial carried signs calling for a different approach to insect control.

“Bee the change,” read one placard.

“I felt compelled to organize the memorial when I heard about the deaths,” explained Medina. “Bees are fascinating creatures and essential to the ecosystem. We couldn’t have organic gardening and farming without them.”

Jina Ronning, who participated in the memorial, agreed.

“I can’t believe that a pesticide that can cause this kind of destruction isn’t better regulated. It’s not just about bees; we’re exposed to it, too,” said Ronning, a mother and student.

Since determining the bees in Wilsonville were killed by Safari, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has temporarily restricted the use of Safari and 18 other pesticides that use the active ingredient “dinotefuran.” Many of those at the Wilsonville memorial believe dinotefuran plays a role in the widespread “colony collapse disorder” phenomenon that has decimated bee populations around the world in recent years.

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