Natural Burial Program Update: 2012 a Record-Setting Year
March 2013
From the Director's Desk

As I look back over 2012, one thing is clear: the concept of having a simpler, more environmentally-friendly burial is gaining ground here in Portland.


Last year nearly one-quarter of the burials we conducted at River View were natural burials - a figure that astonishes those in the Green Burial movement nationally (many cemeteries are doing only two or three a year). In 2010, the year that we first made natural burial available, 6.7% of the non-cremated earth burials at River View chose this option.  In 2011, that figure tripled to 20%. In 2012 the figure jumped to 23.3%.


In addition to the above statistics for persons who chose natural burial for a loved one who died, that many people and more pre-paid their own funeral and cemetery arrangements last year so that they could be assured of having a natural funeral and natural burial for themselves when they die.


As we continue to develop our dedicated, sustainably-managed natural burial area, we are gratified that so many of our clients are already taking advantage of the unique opportunity River View provides: to be buried without a vault or liner; without embalming; and in some cases, even without a casket - virtually anywhere in the cemetery. 


If you are part of a community or professional group that would like to learn more about this growing trend, contact me to arrange a presentation by our Natural Burial Team. 


David Noble
Executive Director
River View Cemetery Association

Meet our Natural Burial team:  

Holly Pruett


Holly Pruett first became interested in alternatives to conventional burial when her father died without having a funeral. Left only with a yogurt container holding a portion of his ashes, she felt the void experienced by many in contemporary society who no longer have access to bereavement rituals or a focal point of remembrance. Now a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, Holly works with families to create personalized and meaningful end-of-life memorial ceremonies. "I support the choices each individual makes around their cremation or burial plans," she says, "but I strongly believe that we need more environmentally-friendly burial options in settings that connect us with the solace and joy of the natural world." A long-time community organizer, Holly is part of the team helping us develop programs that meet the needs of those who haven't felt well-served by conventional funeral and cemetery offerings. Watch for opportunities in the coming year to share your input with Holly 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.  River View is also developing plans to open 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

- Natural Burial in 2012

- AARP Members Weigh In

- Meet our Natural Burial Design Team 


AARP Members Weigh In

Green burial far outweighed other options among those responding to a recent poll on the AARP web site. When asked, "Which type of burial is most appealing?" only 8% wanted a traditional cemetery burial. Cremation appealed to only 18%. As further evidence of the changes coming with the aging of the Baby Boomers, over 70% chose green burial.

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