State planning to sweep trash and debris out of local cemeteries

Phoenix, Ore. — Oregon environmental group ‘Solve’ is partnering with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries for a statewide cleanup effort.

One of the cemeteries involved is Phoenix Pioneer Cemetery.

In addition to picking up trash and leaves, the coordinator of the cleanup thinks it’ll be a great opportunity for the community to come together.

“I like taking photos of the graves… tombstones… and remembering the people that were forgotten,” Phoenix resident Jolisa said.

Jolisa has been visiting the Phoenix Pioneer Cemetery since she was four years old.

She says her neighbor Charlotte – who has since passed away – used to take her there to tell stories of those now resting in peace.

“She used to tell me about the people and how they would tell jokes and about their personalities and how there was this one guy that was super quirky and would talk a lot and then even when he was dying he wouldn’t stop talking,” Jolisa said.

Stan Bartell is a board member of the cemetery.

He’s also the local coordinator in a statewide cemetery cleanup happening Saturday.

“The leaves have started falling a little bit early this year and I think it’s from the extreme heat we had this summer,” Bartell said.

While it was established in 1874, Bartell says there are grave stones dating back to the early 1800s.

He thinks the families of ancestors buried there will appreciate the cleanup… and so will Jolisa.

“I like reading the poems on some of them… the inscriptions… and you can’t read them when they’re covered up by leaves and weeds,” Jolisa said.

There’s also a cemetery in Gold Hill that will be part of the cleanup.

Visit solveoregon.org to become a volunteer.

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