Vandals topple 20 headstones at historic Portland cemetery - KPTV - FOX 12

Vandals topple 20 headstones at historic Portland cemetery

Posted: Updated: June 18, 2013 11:09 PM
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Investigators are trying to figure out who vandalized a historic local cemetery and left behind thousands of dollars in damage.

About 20 headstones were toppled at the Lone Fir Cemetery off Southeast Stark and Southeast 26th in Portland likely sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.

The cemetery dates back to the mid-1800s. Twenty-five thousand people are buried at the cemetery, including several historic figures, volunteers said.

Some of the markers that were toppled have already been put back on their bases. Others were so badly damaged that they now need major repairs, said Frank Schaefer with Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery. The organization is made up of volunteers and works to preserve and restore the cemetery, as well as educate the community about the cemetery.

"Twenty is a big number, yeah," Schaefer said. "For them to come in here and just feel like they had free range to just vandalize and do what they felt like they wanted to do is very disturbing."

Schaefer told FOX 12 that he's seen vandalism at the cemetery before but nothing to this extent.

Some of the headstones will need minor fixes, Schaefer said. A preservationist will likely be needed to repair those that were heavily damaged. The cost for repairs could be up to $250 per stone, he said. 

"It doesn't matter if they're really important or not," Schaefer said. "The fact of the matter is there was somebody here that was buried, and someone put up a stone, a headstone in honor of them."

Schaefer told FOX 12 that he believes no one could have caused all the damage on their own.

He hopes whoever was responsible will realize the impact their actions have had on the families of those who are buried at the cemetery.

"Somebody put effort into making sure they're respected, they're remembered and they're honored," Schaefer said.

Portland police have no suspects in the case, a bureau spokesman said. Damages are estimated at around $5,000.  

On Wednesday morning, members of the Association for Gravestone Studies will tour the cemetery and honor Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery volunteers for all they've done to preserve and protect it, a spokesman said. 

To donate to Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery or sign up to volunteer for the group, click on the related link. 

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