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Rainier Oregon Historical Museum gets grant to aid Rainier Cemetery District

COURTESY PHOTO: RAINIER OREGON HISTORICAL MUSEUM  - Tilted headstones such as this one at Woodbine Cemetery north of Rainier will be repaired thanks to a recent grant that will benefit the Rainier Cemetery District.The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries recently awarded a historical cemetery grant to the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum that will benefit the Rainier Cemetery District.

There were only 12 historic cemetery grants awarded throughout the state of Oregon and two of those were awarded for headstone repair at two Rainier cemeteries. The total grant will be for $5,384, plus $1,454 in matching funds.

Sixteen headstones in Woodbine Cemetery on Larson Road will be repaired and leveled, and 21 headstones in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery on Neer City Road will be leveled, reset and glued. Headstones in both these cemeteries date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The matching money from donations made by museum members, and the collaboration between ROHM and the Rainier Cemetery District played important roles winning the OCHC grant.

This project is the first collaboration between the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum and the Rainier Cemetery District. ROHM President Kay Heflin and cemetery district board member Judy Lepin worked together with Brian Garrison, a 2003 Rainier High School graduate and grant writer, who volunteered to guide them in writing the grant.

A press release from the cemetery district board reports that members were thrilled to hear that the Rainier Cemetery District grant would fund repair of 37 headstones in two of its 12 cemeteries. The grant, the press release adds, is the only way the work will be completed because the district doesn't have the equipment or manpower to do it otherwise.

"While listening to the judges reviewing more than 20 grant applications received by OCHC, it was very clear that the applications showing community support were the ones scoring the highest," ROHM board president Janice Christenson wrote in the press release. "Rainier Cemetery District could not show any community support other than that from the Rainier Historical Museum. If it hadn't had their support, both in Kay's efforts and time, and the ROHM members' financial donations, there's no doubt that the application would not have passed scrutiny of the commissioners that were doing this year's judging."

The grant provides much-needed funding after Rainier Cemetery District unsuccessfully tried for two years to get a tax levy passed that would have allowed the district to manage and maintain the needs of its 12 cemeteries.

"The support of the museum members has shown that they understand and empathize with the district's financial needs," the press release added. "Their museum membership wants the Rainier Cemetery District to be able to do what's right for those buried, and their loved ones."

Additional funds are needed to repair and level two headstones at the Neer City. To make a donation for repairs in the Rainier Cemetery District, checks may be sent to the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum at P.O. Box 762, Rainier OR, 97048. Donations should include the note "Rainier cemetery repair fund" in the check's memo area.

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