The state-appointed trustee of Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens, Candace Amborn, on Oct. 7 filed a settlement with the Oregon Bankruptcy Court to allow for the cemetery property to be sold.
The settlement provides that Robert Gordon, owner of the cemetery, deed back to the estate the parcels of the property he’d previously deeded to six different parties so than Amborn can list the property for sale to a new owner.
Gordon has until Oct. 31 to object to the settlement. Once that date has passed, the attorney for the trustee, Tim Solomon, said they can begin the listing process.
Solomon said they’re “cautiously optimistic” about the sale, “but it’s premature to have any specific expectations about how long it will take, who will buy it, that kind of stuff.”
“Now that the settlement is filed we can begin moving that process forward,” he said.
If the property sells, the estate and Gordon will split the money made from the sale.
The state of Oregon filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Eternal Hills in September of 2017. In the meantime, the cemetery has fallen into disrepair with incidents of vandalism reported to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office multiple times.
Sue Blake’s granddaughter went to the Eternal Hills cemetery Sunday, Sept. 29, to visit Blake’s son and daughter, only to find that the glass was missing from in front of their niche at the columbarium.
Blake filed a police report with the sheriff’s office over the phone Monday, Sept. 30.
In the room lay about a dozen sheets of glass from the front of niches, laying on the ground, or stacked inside an empty niche still later in the week.
KCSO spokesperson Brandon Fowler said the office is investigating the vandalism but there is no way to know how long the room had been like that.
Fowler said the sheriff’s office contacted people it knew to have property in the area that was damaged and that no one has claimed anything was stolen.
That didn’t stop Blake from taking the remains of her son and daughter home and encouraging others to do the same.
“Families need to be warned, ‘Come and get your loved ones,’ ” she said.
Blake said her granddaughter reported glass was broken from six niches, but by Wednesday there was no broken glass on the floor, only solid sheets of glass no longer shielding niches.
Blake was also shocked that they never lock the doors at the columbarium so that anyone can go in, even under the cover of darkness.
In the room that housed Blake’s children’s remains sat a fountain that is dry now and not in its best condition. The fountain was a feature that Blake had sought out for her children.
“That’s why I put them in there, so they could have peace,” she said. “But it didn’t work out that way.”
Gordon surrendered his Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board license, according to the settlement, and “has agreed not to apply for a new license at any time in the future.”
If Amborn is unable to sell the cemetery, the settlement says the state will, “use its best efforts to ensure the cemetery is maintained and operated in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the community.”
Solomon said there is no deadline on the sale of the cemetery and they do not know how long it could take to find a buyer.