Pleasant View Cemetery
Clackamas County, Oregon
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 Maintenance Tips, Policies, and FAQ's
As a pioneer cemetery that relies on volunteers and family members for much
 of the maintenance, it's important to know how best to protect these artifacts.

Why don't they mow the grass more often?
Pleasant View Cemetery is a pioneer cemetery, not a lawn cemetery.  That means that many of the monuments were installed prior to the age of mechanized lawn mowing.  You may notice that most of the old marble columns are perched on tall sandstone bases, with their inscriptions near the top.  The expectation was that much of the time tall grass would be growing around the lower part of the monument.  Because those old sandstone bases are so vulnerable to blades and string trimmers, we try to keep lawn mowing to an "as needed" basis, mostly around major holidays or scheduled services. 

What if we want to trim around our family's monuments?
You are encouraged to carefully trim around your monuments, but be extra careful to keep any mechanized equipment away from the monuments.  Hand trimming is usually sufficient for working around a few monuments.  We discourage use of chemical pesticides or herbicides in the cemetery except for special circumstances (poison oak, for instance).
Are there rules about decorations?
Unlike lawn cemeteries, pioneer cemeteries are usually more relaxed about a variety of decorations.  Grave decorating customs vary by culture, family, and individual so we try to be respectful of a family's needs. We do ask that you remember that mowers will come by now and then.  That means light-weight items may get blown away, and glass items are vulnerable to being struck by flying debris.  Anything like plant containers, that are not maintained may be removed if they deteriorate.  Likewise for seasonal decorations, flags, or artificial flowers that are clearly past their prime.
Are we allowed to plant things?
You can plant flowers or bulbs near your monument, but please keep them out of the path of the mowers.  Remember that there is no water at the cemetery so that will limit what and when you plant.  If you would like to plant something more permanent like a shrub or tree, please talk to Julie or Charlotte first to be sure the location will work and that there is a plan for watering the first summer.  Finally, don't plant anything that might spread or become invasive. You may have noticed the vinca (green vine with pretty blue flowers, growing in many areas of the cemetery) which will eventually cover everything without our vigilant control efforts. 
Monument Cleaning and Care
Many families make care of their monuments a regular part of family life. 
Even once a year can make a big difference.  Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

        

     Almost all of our monuments are made from either marble or granite, with sandstone, granite, or concrete bases and foundations.  Most monuments prior to 1910 are marble. Around that time cutting technology improved and granite became the monument of choice because it is much harder and more durable. 

Here's how to recognize them:

←  Marble

 

Granite  

 

 

 

Marble usually starts out white, but over time turns gray or nearly black due to lichen growth.  You can usually still see the "marbling" that gives it the name. Marble columns are usually on a sandstone base.  The sandstone is especially fragile. Marble and sandstone are very porous and wear easily.

 

Granite is usually speckled, comes in many colors, and can be polished to a high gloss.  This one is a rose-colored high gloss monument and plinth sitting on a gray, rough-finished granite base.  Sometimes the base is concrete. Granite is much harder than marble, but metal implements will still scratch or chip it.

What to Bring
     - A garden knife or other non-motorized edging tool to cut the sod back from around the monument
     - A broom or whisk broom to sweep off monuments
     - Small scrub brush or toothbrush to clean out engravings
     - Sharpened wooden (not metal) sticks to clean out engravings
     - Water and rags to wipe and polish granite
     - If your monument has inverted flower containers you may need a screwdriver or similar implement to
        help pry them up if they are stuck

Granite monument with concrete apron nearly covered by sod

Engraving in need of cleaning

         Monument Cleaning
    Keeping the sod from swallowing everything is one of the biggest challenges in the Northwest, so bring something to cut any sod back from the concrete aprons that surround most granite monuments.  Use small brushes or toothbrushes to clean moss and debris out of engravings.  Sharpened wood dowels or other wooden sticks also
work well, but never use metal or wire implements that can scratch the stone.  Since there is no water at the cemetery, having a spray bottle of plain water and some rags often comes in handy. Using soaps or chemicals is NOT recommended because older stones, especially the marble ones, can be very porous and will suck impurities in like a sponge, causing damage later. 
 

          Use Extra Caution with Older Stones     
     Most monuments before 1910 were made of marble, which is much softer and more fragile than granite.  Since any cleaning (even falling raindrops) removes some material, these stones should only be cleaned once every few years.  Use plenty of water, scrub gently, and rinse thoroughly.  The bases of these monuments are usually made of sandstone, which is even more fragile than the marble.  Scrubbing sandstone is never a good idea and motorized equipment like string trimmers often does permanent damage. Just remove grass and weeds by hand if you need to. 

 

         Take Care of Yourself
     We are making some headway in evicting the California ground squirrels, but much of the ground is still uneven and has leftover holes, so watch your step. 
We have a few monuments that are waiting to be secured and could be tippy, so remind kids not to climb or lean on any monuments.   We have tried to eradicate the poison oak when we find it in the cemetery, but there is still a lot of it in the woods around the cemetery, so keep that in mind if you have kids or pets that wander.  And speaking of those pets, be sure to pick up after them!