HAPPY VALLEY, OR (KPTV) – A memorial fund is raising money in honor of two men who died who died while breaking down the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley earlier this month.

Brad Swet, 35, and Brandon Blackmore, 27, died Aug. 8 while removing ropes from the trees for the GuildWorks array at Pickathon on Pendarvis Farm off Southeast Hagen Road, a GuildWorks spokesperson says.

The Brad Swet and Brandon Blackmore Memorial Fund will support the men’s families and will serve as the public memorial, according to the spokesperson, who says the fund was established in partnership with Pickathon.

According to GuildWorks, Swet’s family will use the money to help cover funeral expenses and conserve timber land in his name; Blackmore’s family will donate money toward nature conservancy programs in his name. Funds will be split evenly between the two families. 

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office after the incident said the two arborists had been ascending the boom lift, also known as a cherry picker, before climbing further up trees to get to ropes holding up a complex shade installation used during the festival.

The men were wearing safety equipment and were roped to the boom lift, which was reportedly positioned on an incline, according to the sheriff’s office. The arborists were about 40 feet in the air when the boom lift tilted and fell, killing them.

Swet was an independent contract with GuildWorks for seven years and had worked the Pickathon event for three years as a Tree Crew Lead, the company says. Blackmore had been a GuildWorks employee since 2017. GuildWorks says the men were “great friends”.

The company says the two men shared a bond of being in the trees together and they looked forward to Pickathon each year. 

The memorial fund is posted online here. 

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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