Natural Burial Program Update: New Restoration Partnership Announced 
August/September 2012
From the Director's Desk
This fall, something historic is slated to occur at our cemetery.

In partnership with West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (WMSWCD) we're beginning the ecological restoration of over 14 acres of cemetery forest, which is currently being choked by numerous invasive species.

Like other urban forests on Portland's west side, River View Cemetery's ravines are plagued by invasive plants that, left to their own devices, take over and destroy the habitat for native fish and wildlife.

We've heard from prospective natural burial clients that they want to contribute to the health of the planet through their burial decisions.  By restoring the stream corridor adjacent to our planned Natural Burial Area, we're ushering in a new era of stewardship for River View - as stewards of the community's human and natural heritage.

Through a generous grant from WMSWCD, River View reduced its share of the restoration costs by 50%.  The clean-up and planting of native grasses, shrubs, and trees is expected to take two years and will begin in early October.

We're grateful for the Conservation District's partnership, which recognizes the important public value of restoring health to the ecosystem in River View's special natural areas.

With the restoration work underway, we will continue to work with our planning team to create a Natural Burial Area that provides beauty, solace, and environmental benefit.  Read on to meet one of the landscape architects helping to make this vision a reality.


I hope you'll share this update with others (use the Forward to a Friend button below) and share your thoughts with me ([email protected]).


David Noble
Executive Director
River View Cemetery Association

Meet our Natural Burial team:  

Olena Turula 


Olena Turula, a registered landscape architect with Nevue Ngan Associates, calls designing the Natural Burial Area at River View "an ideal project".  She sees it as "an opportunity to make a cemetery more than just about burial and memorial, but to make it a celebration of life and about all things living."


Drawing inspiration from Eugene's historic Masonic Cemetery and the well-loved natural areas around Portland like Tryon Creek Park, Olena envisions the River View natural burial site with a similar character:  "well cared for, with cathedral-like trees, lush vegetation, and a stewardship ethic at its core - the kind of place that makes you feel really rooted in the Pacific Northwest." 


Olena pursued her Masters degree in landscape architecture because she wanted to make ecology and restoration accessible to more people.  "At River View, the experience of the forest, stream, and wildlife will be integral to the natural burial site," she says.  "In the years to come, we expect a community to develop around the stewardship of this special natural area."


Watch opportunities in the coming year to share your input with Olena and other members of our team.

At River View, you can plan to be buried nearly anywhere in the cemetery, directly in the earth without chemical embalming, in a biodegradable casket or a simple shroud.  In 2013, River View plans to begin construction of a new, dedicated Natural Burial Area - free from harmful chemicals and pesticides. And in coming years, we expect to make natural burial available in our beautiful forested areas.  For more information:  
In This Issue

- Announcing a new Restoration Partnership

- Meet our Natural Burial Design Team

- A Will for the Woods 

Operation End Invasives

This photo may look lush and green but it spells trouble for the native ecosystem. Ivy, blackberry, holly, English laurel, and other species crowd out native plants and degrade the health of the whole watershed. According to WMSWCD Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr, "By controlling invasive weeds, we will promote the growth of native fish, plant species, and wildlife throughout the watershed."  
How Does a Forest Recover?  View this short trailer from a new feature length documentary, A Will for the Woods, in which Clark Wang plans his own natural burial while battling lymphoma.
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