Oregon City, Oregon-Did you know? It’s not illegal to keep the body of a deceased loved one in Oregon.

In fact, it’s even perfectly legal to bury a body right in your own back yard.  It’s also legal to by-pass medical examiners, the morgue, and even an autopsy.  Elizabeth Fournier is a licensed mortician in Boring, OR. The self-proclaimed GREEN Reaper says the misconception to the general public comes from depictions of consistent protocols on the TV and in movies.  But Fournier says, she is often in a backyard with a back-hoe.


A death in the family can be a grim experience. In times of great emotional distress, caused by the passing of a loved one, many follow the direction provided by the medical examiner, hospital, or nursing home.  They do this because either they are unprepared or unaware that there are many options, and that many are much more affordable, closer to one or one’s family’s wishes concerning the body, and a lower impact on the environment.  To be clear it is not necessary buy a five-thousand-dollar casket. BYOCB bring you own carboard box, it’s your funeral party.


The Green Reaper says a casket or cremation are the typical offerings of funeral directors.  Some don’t know to ask for any other options.  Now you do.  I had done some commercial fishing in Alaska, so I asked if I could be launched into the ocean in a crab pot.  Burials at sea, perfectly legal.  One popular form of green burial is to have the body buried on a property with a tree planted over the top.  It returns the nutrients to the earth and leaves a living growing memorial.  Could you imagine, hanging a hammock on Grandma and Grandpa.


Green burials are increasing in popularity and known to have minimal impact on the environment, reduce carbon emissions and preserve natural habitat.  And they are LEGAL in all 50 states.

Want to learn more? Clackamas Community College will host a green burial workshop July 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will learn about the different options for green burial, the legal aspects of green burial and suggestions for discussing burial preferences with loved ones.

The workshop will be held at the CCC Environmental Learning Center, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City.

To register, visit www.clackamas.edu/workshops. For more information, call 503-594-3015.


Hear this story and more on Portland’s Morning News w/Steve and Rebecca on FM News 101

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