Organizing the Soul of a City
The City of Mosier’s two historic cemeteries are beloved by the community and serve as vital public gathering spaces where residents form strong connections to Mosier history and to their community. For almost a century the cemetery management was a labor of love performed exclusively by volunteers. But in 2013 the City stepped up to plate to take over this enormous responsibility and found itself struggling to maintain a record keeping system comprised of three notebooks stuffed with conflicting maps and information and a large shoebox full of documents and scraps of very old notes.
In 2014 the City of Mosier applied for and received a Historic Cemetery Grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, which provided the financial assistance that the City needed to undertake the massive project of getting all of these old records organized and uploaded onto an online software system.
With the help of a nationally renowned consultant, Sally Donovan and Associates, the City of Mosier City Staff and a core group of volunteers developed a management and record keeping system that now allows City Staff to efficiently manage these two active cemeteries. This system also preserves all cemetery historic documents, photos, and records and makes them publicly accessible via the internet through the online software system.
From November 2014 through February 2015, the volunteers and city staff logged over 20 hours each person working to record the State Road cemetery data. But in February there were still many records left to be entered. The City Manager recruited three more interested volunteers and held a half day workshop on February 26th to train these new volunteers. The three new volunteers logged 30 hours total to complete the entire State Road Data entry on March 27th, 2015.
This project engaged and empowered Mosier Citizens to work together with the City to preserve the history of our community and our cemeteries. City Staff also gained the knowledge, organization, and skills needed to manage our two active historic cemeteries with confidence, professionalism, and empathy.
For visitor access to the Mosier Pioneer Cemetery and the Mosier State Road Cemetery information, go to: http://ckonline.tbgtom.com/Login.aspx and log in with the name Mosier Cemeteries and the password welcome.
-Adapted from text by Kathy Fitzpatrick, Mosier City Manager.