This year’s unfortunate deaths involve a cesspool, suicide via hot air balloon and a forensic experiment where doctors thought that, by removing the eyes of the deceased, they could view the last image the person had seen.
The tour is a joint endeavor by nonprofit Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery and Metro, the greater Portland area’s elected regional government, which owns and operates 14 historic cemeteries. The event started in 2005 as a way to prevent what had become a night of vandalism in the cemetery located on Southeast 26th Avenue between Southeast Morrison and Stark streets. “The best way to prevent vandalism is to educate the community that this special place deserves to be cared for and preserved,” said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick.
This year the funds raised will be used to focus on “One Stone at a Time,” a project to properly secure large monuments on their bases to keep them from falling or being pushed over. The group also plans to mark the sections of the cemetery so that cemetery staff and visitors can easily locate graves. Last year, more than 1,500 people toured the cemetery on Halloween night. Guests learned about the history of Lone Fir, as well as stories about the unusual circumstances surrounding the deaths of some of the people buried there. “The turnout from 2014 was incredible, despite having a hiatus from the event in 2013. The event is becoming a part of Portland’s Halloween event scene,” said Janice Reid, Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery board president. “The cemetery again experienced a rash of vandalism in August and with the media coverage, we are anticipating more people will attend this year to support preservation efforts.”
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