Some will remember Orenstein, who was 71 when she died, for her work in saving the trees along Main Street in the 1980's.
When a state-run project to widen East Main Street threatened many of the 43 trees along the road, Orenstein put together the TreeAction group. As a result of Orenstein's efforts, the trees were saved, according to a Carroll County Times article.
"She was an inspiration to me when she first refused to take 'no' for an answer from SHA when they determined all of the old trees along the upper end of Main Street had to be removed for the reconstruction project more than 20 years ago," Neil Ridgely told Patch. "Her legacy is that beautiful tree lined Main Street that provides so much shade, character and habitat to the City."
"Her continued spirit of fighting for the environment inspired me as a young county employee and continued throughout my career with the County," Ridgely said.
Orenstein, who moved to Westminster in 1971, started a photography business and served on Westminster's city council from 1991 to 1995. She was known as a woman who was passionate about local issues. She also worked to clean up her neighborhood on Pennsylvania Avenue.
"I served with Rebecca for the last six months of her time on the City Council, and then later on both the Pennsylvania Avenue Task Force and its later expansion as the Tri-Streets Task Force," former city councilman Greg Pecoraro said. "Whatever Rebecca did, she brought to the table great passion and determination."
More recently, Orenstein worked to get the city of Westminster to host an event celebrating Corbit's Charge, a Civil War battle that took place near what is now Sheetz in Westminster. She also rallied against the board of Carroll County Commissioner's English Language Ordinance which passed earlier this year.
Orenstein was also a candidate for Westminster's mayor in the elections that took place this spring. She lost to the incumbent Kevin Utz.
"At heart, Rebecca was always a citizen activist. While on the Council, and for years thereafter, she kept her focus on what made Westminster a special place," Pecoraro said. "Her leadership on protecting Main Street’s trees led to Westminster’s recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for over 30 years. Her interest in historic preservation, and her passionate devotion to her Pennsylvania Avenue neighborhood were also the hallmarks of her time in the community, and are the greatest part of her legacy."
Surviving are her son, Adam Orenstein of Westminster; two brothers, Mike Watkins and Tony Watkins, both of Darlington, S.C.; and three grandchildren.