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Oregon Gov. Brown signs human composting bill

In this Friday, April 19, 2019, photo Katrina Spade, the founder and CEO of Recompose, displays a sample of the compost material left from the decomposition of a cow, using a combination of wood chips, alfalfa and straw, as she poses in a cemetery in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill passed by the Legislature legalizing human composting.

Brown signed House Bill 2574 Tuesday, which will legalize what’s also known as natural organic reduction, KOIN-TV reported. It also clarifies rules surrounding alkaline hydrolysis, known as aqua cremation. The law goes into effect July 1, 2022.

Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, said she decided to sponsor the bill because her constituents are interested in alternative after-death options.

“My colleagues could see as well that in addition to providing families with a choice, it also is a business opportunity,” she said.

Elizabeth Fournier, owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services in Boring, and author of a green burial guidebook, provides “green” and eco-friendly after-death services, and has given clients the option of natural organic reduction since it was legalized in Washington state in 2020.

Fournier takes bodies to Herland Forest in Wahkiacus, Washington. It’s a natural burial cemetery about 100 miles east of Portland.

In 2020, Fournier witnessed her first natural organic reduction and said seeing the process for herself made her more comfortable in talking to her clients about that option.

Marsh said the state plans to have its rules in place for natural organic reduction facilities by 2022.