Freemasons help with gravestone repairs at Forest View Cemetery
The Oregon Freemasons are pitching in to help repair 18 gravestones at the Forest View Cemetery that were recently vandalized.
In November, police apprehended two juveniles after they allegedly toppled gravestones and other property at the cemetery, causing about $5,000 worth of damage to the gravestones, many of which were erected in the late 19th century and are difficult to repair because materials used to create them aren't made anymore, accoridng to cemetery manager Randy Ince.
After hearing about the damage, local members of the Oregon Freemasons presented the cemetery with a $1,000 donation on Dec. 23 to help repair and preserve the gravestones.
Local masons and their family members have been buried at the cemetery since 1922. Although no masonic gravestones were damaged in the incident, masonic officials said they made the donation because the organization cares about preserving local history.
"Hopefully we can really make a difference, and not only restore what's been damaged but preserve it as well," said Bill Sparks III, a local member of the lodge.
Repair work will take place starting in early January, Ince said. Insurance is covering nearly all of the costs of the repairs, but Ince said the donation will help the cemetery continue to preserve burial sites.
Contacting the family members of the people whose gravestones were damanged is difficult, Ince said, because of the age of the graves. Only one person whose family member's gravestone was damaged has been to the cemetery to inspect the damage, Ince said.
He said he reached out to the Friends of the Historic Forest Grove to see if the organization could help identify relatives.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.