About 50 people spent part of an October Saturday at Lone Fir Cemetery learning about the history and possible future of a section of the cemetery called “Block 14” as Metro shared two options for the design of a memorial at the site.
“It’s been a great journey,” said Steven Ying, who has been involved with the project for almost two decades. “It’s been a long time coming, but that’s how things are sometimes. Now it’s exciting because things are going into high gear.”
Metro's work with community to create a memorial at Block 14 began in 2007, when the land was given to Metro by Multnomah County and rejoined with the cemetery. At that time, a preliminary design concept was created, but the project was put on hold until funding could be secured. After voters approved the 2019 parks and nature bond measure, the project could move forward.
That funding allowed Metro to conduct more research at the site, which showed that the 2008 design was unfeasible. The new designs, created by Knot Studio, incorporate feedback from past and recent community engagement; they also are designed in a way that conforms to current understandings of building conditions and cemetery best practices.
In addition to viewing design concepts and speaking with staff from the project team, guests were able to see funerary objects related to the historic Chinese cemetery, courtesy of the Oregon Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association. They were also invited to share feedback and questions, either through conversation or by writing them down on sticky notes that were collected at the event.
The two design options are called the Hill and the Grove. Both recognize the land’s history as the Chinese section of Lone Fir Cemetery. Each design includes a space for making offerings to ancestors and conducting ritual at the eastern end of the site, where an altar and funerary burner once stood. Each design also includes a welcome area at the westernmost end of the site, which was not ever part of the Chinese cemetery. This western entrance area has space for information and storytelling about Lone Fir Cemetery in general and about the many marginalized communities whose members were buried there, including both Chinese immigrants and patients from the historic Oregon Hospital for the Insane.
Read a presentation of both design concepts
In addition to the October information session held at the cemetery, Metro has held information sessions with Chinese American community members and other stakeholder groups involved with the project. Metro is also asking for community feedback through an online survey that is open to all from now until November 28.
Take the survey
The project team will use feedback from these engagement events to choose a design concept and refine it further. The finished project is slated to be open to the public by the end of 2026.