Volunteers include Master Gardeners, neighbors, history buffs, cemetery supporters, and green space enthusiasts. Since its inception, Spirits Alive volunteers have:
- Planted over 100 trees and flowering shrubs
- Successfully advocated for more public access to the site
- Raised funds for and installed granite bench seating
- Created and led walking tours
- Sponsored "Beyond the Gates – Art Inspired by the Eastern Cemetery,” a summer-long artist program
- Held stone conservation training workshops
- Hosted evening “Walk Among the Shadows” tours
- Transcribed the condition and inscription of every stone in the cemetery
- Conducted several winter lecture series
Tour Guides: The cemetery annually attracts natives and people from away who love old cemeteries and all that goes with them. Spirits Alive offers regular cemetery tours beginning in July and continuing through mid-October. The script for the tour covers subjects such as – famous people interred there, some early history of Portland, gravestone art and its symbolism, and explanation of the construction of the tombs and the City’s “dead house” (the winter holding tomb.) If you decide you would like to become a tour guide for the season, you should know that you will be called upon to give a tour just once a month. You will be thoroughly trained.
- You will be walking on uneven ground some of the time and should be able to negotiate that.
- The tour will take about 60 to 90 minutes, depending upon your tourists’ curiosity and your decisions to embellish the script.
- Also, at the beginning of the tour you will be expected to collect the tour fee and contact information from the tourists. We will work with you to find the most convenient way for you to get the money back to Spirits Alive. Every penny of the tour fee is used for projects that improve the cemetery.
Cemetery Conservation and Restoration: workers will aid in the visual improvement of an area near the tombs of the captains from the 1813 battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise. They will learn how to reset stones and beautify the area with care regarding historic gravestones.
Gardening Workdays: anyone willing to wield a wheelbarrow, dig holes for trees and bushes, lug heavy water buckets or simply hand-trim around stones on their knees is welcome!
Stone Survey Photography Phase: our stone survey continues in the form of photography. Volunteers are needed: folks who enjoy being among the stones and recording their digital images, or helping someone else who will. A love of history, archaeology, culture, geology, dirt, and Portland people required.