Family members told to clean up gravesites at Portland cemetery

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The cleanup and removal of certain parts of grave markers at 14 historic cemeteries in and around Portland is nearly complete.

KATU News first told you about the changes coming to these cemeteries in October of 2012. Metro is now focusing on Lone Fir Cemetery, the final graveyard slated for cleanup.

"This is the last one," said Paul Slyman, director of Parks and Environmental Services at Metro. "Of all fourteen cemeteries, we found about 400 memorials that need to be cleaned up."

Metro decided to crack down on some of the enclosures, borders, plants, and other embellishments that loved ones often add to grave markers. While the rules have been on the books for years, they were never enforced.

"These kinds of things, as precious as they may have been when they were installed, there comes a time when people stop caring for them," said Slyman.

Some of the decorations have fallen into disrepair and become safety hazards. While others are taken care of, Metro wants to cut down on maintenance time at each cemetery.

"It's not easy for those mowing the lawn to maneuver around these things," said Slyman.

Family members have been notified in several ways to remove the additional decorations. Metro will eventually remove any items that aren't taken care of.

A list of acceptable grave decorations can be found on Metro's website.