Directions to Oak Hill Cemetery in Eugene
The Burial Book

Oak Hill Cemetery, Overlooking Fern Ridge

OAK HILL CEMETERY -- A LANE COUNTY HISTORIC TREASURE

Oak Hill Cemetery's Historic Section
The historic section at Oak Hill

Oak Hill Cemetery is one of Lane County's oldest and most beautiful historic cemeteries.  Founded in 1850, Oak Hill is situated on a gently sloping west-facing hillside overlooking Fern Ridge Lake and the coast range of the Cascade Mountains.  Deer, squirrels, numerous species of birds, and other wildlife are often seen in this quiet, pastoral setting.  Although far from busy roadways, Oak Hill Cemetery can be easily accessed from the Eugene area (see Directions), since it is only two miles west of the Eugene city limits.

The cemetery is one of the first in Oregon to actively encourage natural burials and the use of biodegradable urns and coffins. Its location is well-suited for bird habitat, and the local Lane County wildlife find a ready home in this secluded and gently managed landscape.

When originally founded, the cemetery was barely an acre in size and was the burial site of many early settlers of Lane County, including John Bailey who donated the land and was buried here in 1895.  Over a period of many years, the cemetery fell into disuse, became overgrown and was an easy target for vandals.  But in the early 1970's, additional acreage was added and the cemetery was finally reclaimed from the blackberries that had taken it over. 

SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT INTRODUCED

The cemetery is currently privately owned, changing hands in 2014 to the stewardship of Sustainable Cemetery Management advocate Cynthia Beal, living and working in Lane County since 1989, who has a personal passion for gardening and sustainable forestry and agriculture, and is bringing a range of natural burial options for both cremated and full-body remains.

As of 2014, the Cemetery management has elected to transition the grounds to more sustainable landscape management practices. The use of chemical poisons has been almost entirely eliminated, and the cemetery has been trialing many alternative less-toxic forms of vegetation management. Mowing is done on a strict regimen, ensuring maximum efficiency of personnel and fuel. The cemetery composts its flower tributes, rather than throwing them away; its branches and clippings are composted on site rather than hauled; its extra soil from graves is spread into new terraces, beds and berms; new hedgerows for wildlife and boundary management are being created; and irrigation is now being managed with stronger conservation principles in mind.

INTERMENT RIGHTS IN THE GARDENS AT OAK HILL

Oak Hill consists of approximately nine developed acres, including the original historic portion of the cemetery. In addition to the Historical Garden (limited spaces available to existing families only), Oak Hill offers new beautiful natural burial view-lots from Oak Crest, as well as the gardens of Country View, Peaceful Valley and Resurrection; and one can also be buried in the barely-mowed area of Return, with smaller cremated remains areas in various sections throughout the cemetery.

The Wildflower Border buffers Return with a span of flowers that help seed the new meadow over time, and the Grassy Garden Path winds downhill through multiple grass species let grow as ornamentals to their full size, and helping the cemetery to explore the diversity of grasses and groundcovers available for its future turf-conversion.

With six additional acres still available for development, and new sections for the natural burial of cremated remains for both people and pets on the drawing board, our families can be assured of having burial sites available for many decades to come.

MARKERS AND MEMORIALS

A wide variety of markers, vaults, and other cemetery merchandise is available. All first interment rights are now required to have some form of permanent marker to ensure that in future decades and centuries cemetery staff know which grave spaces have been used. A minimal marker at below normal margins is available, as are a variety of other memorials that we design together in remembrance of a loved one.

Visiting ancestral graves can be an important activity for children, and memorials make that connection with the past more tangible. Markers can be chosen and installed after the burial or before; they can also be restored or replaced. Proceeds from our marker sales go to supplement cemetery maintenance and habitat building. Please contact us directly for details.

ENDOWMENT CARE

Unlike most rural, historic cemeteries, Oak Hill Cemetery is an "Endowment Care Cemetery," meaning that a percentage of the proceeds from each interment right that is sold are placed in an irreducible care fund.  Only the interest from this fund can ever be used, assuring client families that Oak Hill will always be maintained and and help ensure that it will never again fall into a state of abandonment.

NATURAL BURIAL ENCOURAGED

In keeping with its historical culture, where simple wood coffins were placed directly in the earth, without the use of concrete vaults or liners, as of 2018, Oak Hill Cemetery sells new plots for NATURAL BURIALS ONLY, and this holds true throughout the cemetery. While existing plot holders prior to 2018 may still use a concrete outer burial container and non-biodegradable casket, new burials are natural only (i.e., no embalming; biodegradable wicker, or paper coffin,  natural fabric shroud and carrier, or softwood casket - check with the cemetery for details)

This means that families are no longer  required to purchase an "Outer Burial Container" - a prior cemetery rule in the past - when a biodegradable coffin is used and natural burial protocols are followed.  (See Natural Burials link for more information).

You can purchase biodegradable coffins directly from your funeral home or you can supply your own. (If you're unable to obtain one easily, we do sell them, too).

Thank you for visiting our website.  Feel free to leave us an e-mail message at [email protected] or click on Contact Us for additional ways to reach us.

Street view in Spring
The view from Oak Hill Cemetery Road in Spring

 

 

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YOU ARE WELCOMED TO VISIT THE CEMETERY DAILY FROM DAWN TO DUSK!

 

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE - 2024

MONDAY MAY 27, 2024 at 10:00 

 

 Each year, the cemetery invites the community to join it for a public Memorial Day Service honoring Veterans to celebrate the men and women who died for our Freedom to Choose.

This year, join the Scouts of Troop 22, led by:

Scoutmaster Robert Perrier and Senior Patrol Leader Austin Morris 

(with special wrangling by Brandie Gillespie)

 

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CEMETERY RULES

We've done our best to identify the things that are important to create and maintain a respectful, sacred cemetery space that can serve families for generations to come. A copy of the Cemetery's Rules, spelling out the elements we think are important to accomplish that, are available during normal office hours. Please don't hesitate to ask us for further clarification, and thank you in advance for adhering to our rules and helping us to keep Oak Hill Cemetery one of the loveliest and most peaceful cemeteries in Lane County.   

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LICENSED CEMETERY SERVICES

The cemetery is licensed by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board and is also registered with the Oregon State Dept. of Consumer and Business Services to sell trust-funded pre-arrangement plans.