Cemetery Clean-Ups Planned in Canby, Aurora

A couple of cemetery clean-ups are just around the corner, for those looking to take advantage of that last bit of sunshine before the fall truly sets in — and serve their community in the process.

The Canby Heritage and Landmark Commission is once again partnering with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries to clean historic grave markers at the city-owned, 123-year-old Zion Memorial Cemetery on Township Road.

The project’s goal is to uncover artwork and inscriptions, preserve the markers and prolong their life. The historic marker cleaning will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

Tools, gloves and chemicals (specially designed for use in historic cemeteries) will be provided, with certain areas marked to accommodate social distancing. Funding is provided via an annual grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries and the City of Canby.

Click to access Zion-Marker-Cleaning-2020-Flyer.pdf

The first historic marker cleaning has been held in September the past two years in different parts of the cemetery. Attendance the first two years has averaged at around 20 people, who have cleaned about 150 markers each time.

A separate project, also overseen by the HLC, is underway to repair the 113 historic markers identified as needing a little more TLC than just a good scrubbing. It’s estimated to be a four-year project.

Zion Memorial Cemetery has been active since January 1897. Its first burial was that of Christian Wintermantel, who had originally proposed the cemetery a few days before he died.

The Canby Evangelical United Brethren Church owned the cemetery until it became too labor-intensive to maintain, and the city accepted ownership and maintenance in 1937.

The historic section contains 1,720 gravesites, some of which are unmarked. The historic section grave markers are in fairly good shape, however, some need repair and most need cleaning after decades/centuries in the elements.

Also planned for Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon, is a clean-up at the Aurora Cemetery, located off Oak Lane past the Aurora Vineyards.

Work will include trimming trees and hedges, pulling out briars, cutting down a few small trees, cleaning up from the recent wind storms, pruning rose bushes, raking under the big fir trees, weeding, blowing the road, repairing vole damage, hauling dirt and general clean-up.

Participants are asked to bring your own tools, including wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, clippers and gloves. (Make sure you put your name on them.) Gas-powered leaf blowers, hedge trimmers and chainsaws would also be welcomed.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 12, the event was pushed back due to dangerous air quality from the Clackamas wildfires. All ages welcome. See the Facebook event for more information or to RSVP.

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