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Volunteers begin beautification of Nehalem’s cemetery


Volunteers are invited to grab their favorite gardening tools to spruce up Nehalem’s Historic American Legion Cemetery every Wednesday. And don’t forget the drinking water.

By Jordan Wolfe
jwolfe@countrymedia.net

“Our mission is to preserve and beautify the cemetery,” Val Vines Magee, project coordinator and volunteer, said. “What we’re doing is very simple. We want it to be reminiscent of a historical cemetery.”

Vines Magee said that the current plan is to clean out invasive vegetation and overgrown plants from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the cemetery.

(From left to right) Tom Mock, Val Vines Magee and Lyla Hendrickson completed their first public work party at the cemetery on May 4. They are receiving donations and grant money to finally add a sign for the cemetery and build a fence along the road.
(From left to right) Tom Mock, Val Vines Magee and Lyla Hendrickson completed their first public work party at the cemetery on May 4. They are receiving donations and grant money to finally add a sign for the cemetery and build a fence along the road.

She will soon be going to a field training in Salem to learn about preserving cemeteries properly, like how to remove moss without damaging cement.

“Part of our job is envisioning what the families intended for the plot and restoring it while doing no harm to the monuments or the site,” Vines Magee said.

The volunteers will add bark chips on top of the freshly pruned plots to level the ground and improve the look.

“That plot was caved in, almost like a bath tub,” said Lyla Hendrickson, treasurer of Nehalem Valley Historical Society.

The Lane's
The plot of the Lane’s, considered as the founders of Manzanita. Lyla Hendrickson says the plot was caved in like a bathtub, especially following the extraction of invasive vegetation.

Vines Magee said she brought the idea to beautify the cemetery to the Nehalem Valley Historical Society, whom she said have been very supportive and Hendrickson was instrumental in getting the project up and running.

Among improvements that are planned, Vines Magee said that they are receiving grant money and donations to build a fence along the road, include interpretive stations and create a sign.

“There has never been an entry sign for the cemetery. Grant money will pay for that,” she said.

Val Vines Magee says that, after over 100 years, the cemetery will finally get it's very own entrance sign, thanks to a grant.
Val Vines Magee says that, after over 100 years, the cemetery will finally get it’s very own entrance sign.

Vines Magee said finding a first donor can be difficult and is happy that Nehalem Bay Garden Club was their first. Other funding has come from the Tillamook County Cultural coalition and the City of Nehalem.

“If we get a crew going, I think we’ll be able to create a permanent support system for this site and maybe only do annual touch-ups,” Vines Magee said. “The city has done an amazing job maintaining the site, but they need help and support.”

“What a special place this is.”

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Val Vines Magee at vinesmagee@gmail.com.