The ongoing angst over Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens is just a travesty. Its operation has been abandoned far too long.
As we have reported, upkeep at Eternal Hills has diminished drastically since owner Bob Gordon lost his license in 2016 for numerous state violations including mishandling remains and misleading customers. Gordon has denied wrongdoing and claims he was targeted by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board (OMCB) for pointing out the board’s failure to follow policy.
The other local funeral homes are doing all they can to keep up and lend assistance to those who may need it. And there are still funeral services being held at the site.
Many thanks to those who launched the Facebook page: Eternal Hills Cemetery Cleanup Group. (Search for them on Facebook and it will pop up).
Here’s a bit from that site:
“In an ongoing effort to assist in the cleanup and upkeep of Eternal Hills cemetery located in Klamath Falls, we have established this group to announce Clean Up Events, share updates on what is happening with the property, and hear from our community how this unfortunate situation has effected those who have family and friends laid to rest at Eternal Hills cemetery.
“This group is not meant to be a brewing ground for violence or retaliation. It is for coming together as a community to discuss and organize how we can make a difference until the property is under new ownership. Community involvement is needed. Together we can do great things!”
The Klamath County Commissioners have their hands tied simply because the issue is tied up at the state level and the land is private. Commissioner Derrick DeGroot opined on Facebook that they are looking for a creative way to solve this issue, but for now, not much can be done.
Many thanks to Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber and District Attorney Eve Costello who told the Herald and News last week they would be unlikely to pursue criminal action against those simply helping maintain the grounds. It shows some common sense for this frustrating issue.
The state now has a new law to hold mortuaries accountable for those who have placed trust in them, thanks to state Rep. E. Werner Reschke, R-Klamath Falls. A bill he voted for was signed March 27 by Gov. Kate Brown.
Nonetheless, not much can be done at the site today.
Hence, the group of volunteers who are holding cleanup days at Eternal Hills are a blessing. There is one such day this coming Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. There are two funerals scheduled there too, so the cleanup will be muted during those events. The next one is June 29 at 9 a.m.
But we would encourage all those who want to help, to help. Go to the Facebook page and inquire how you can lend a hand.
Also, if you have a specific complaint to lodge, contact the Mortuary Cemetery Board, 800 NE Oregon St No. 430, Portland, OR 97232; Phone: 971-673-1500.