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Central Point Cemetery needs work and city action

I have lived in the Rogue Valley for 26 years and in Central Point for two years. Central Point is wonderful. All cities have problems from crime to budgets. Elected officers are well meaning and dedicated to their city, or they wouldn’t have run for office. Citizens of any city are usually proud of where they live, or at least concerned with its looks, reputation and perception by others.

Central Point has been around since the pioneer days, and as such has a history. As usual, a natural thing with the passing of time, older folks have died and others have moved on. So, here on Hamrick Road, we have a historic cemetery of approximately seven acres. It’s called Central Point Cemetery.

The problem here is that the city doesn’t own or have any control of this cemetery. There are many interesting and historic tombstones with familiar names that one may view on a walk through this cemetery.

But who thinks of walking through some place that is a tangle of weeds, brush, dead trees and broken tombstones? It’s quite visible from busy Hamrick Road, and has been known as a mess by anyone taking a look as they drive by.

Well, these past many months, volunteers have cleaned up this mess, and it really looks nice. There’s more that can be done, but this is privately owned property and the owners, while apparently having no interest in maintenance, have a say in the matter.

The city of The Dalles has dealt with this same problem of private property by passing a new code, which “allows the city to put a lien on property for any costs associated with treatment or removal,” etc. Obviously, things can be done on the city level. First, there has to be a level of interest.

How much interest? Well, things like this always require something called work. “Work” is what a few volunteers did to restore the trashy cemetery. I personally put in about 75 hours. Now, the city can do something requiring work, or the city can pretend there’s not really a problem. After all, it’s not the city’s property. This cemetery is a pimple on the city's nose, because to most people it’s part of Central Point.

There are broken and toppled tombstones, dead or near-dead oak trees, much mistletoe, healthy smaller oak trees pushing over more tombstones, cleared blackberries and poison oak that will all once again take over their favorite niches in the cemetery when left alone.

Volunteers won’t be too enthusiastic the next time around when the city shows so little interest in addressing this ugly mess. Some early volunteers quite literally have said “don’t want to,” when asked to come back and do the hard stuff. Oh, well, hopefully we’ll get it weed-wacked again, which is pretty easy. Dang, don’t you just hate work?

Bill Foy lives in Central Point.