Rights and Duties Relating to Cemeteries, Human Bodies and Anatomical Gifts

ORS 97.010

As used in ORS 97.010 (Definitions) to 97.040 (Private family burial grounds), 97.110 (Human remains not to be attached) to 97.450 (Discontinuance of cemetery and removal of remains and markers), 97.510 (Sale and conveyance of plots by cemetery authority) to 97.730 (Gifts and bequests in trust for cemeteries), 97.810 (Endowment care and nonendowed care cemeteries) to 97.920 (Judgment declaring nuisance, authorizing abatement and creating and foreclosing lien), 97.923 (Definitions for ORS 97.923 to 97.949) to 97.949 (Notification by director to appropriate federal, state or local law enforcement officer of violation of ORS 97.923 to 97.949), 97.990 (Penalties) and 97.994 (Penalties for ORS 97.931, 97.933, 97.941 and 97.943):


“Burial” means the placement of human remains in a grave or lawn crypt.


“Burial park” means a tract of land for the burial of human remains, used, or intended to be used, and dedicated for cemetery purposes.


“Burial right” means the right to use a grave, mausoleum, columbarium, ossuary or scattering garden for the interment or other disposition of human remains.


“Cemetery” means a place:


Dedicated to and used, or intended to be used, for a permanent memorial or the permanent interment of human remains; and


That may contain a mausoleum, crypt or vault interment, a columbarium, an ossuary, a cenotaph, a scattering garden, any other structure or place used or intended to be used for the interment or disposition of human remains or any combination of these structures or places.


“Cemetery association” means a corporation or association authorized by its articles of incorporation to conduct the business of a cemetery, but does not include a corporation sole or a charitable, eleemosynary association or corporation.


“Cemetery authority” means a person who owns or controls cemetery lands or property, including but not limited to a cemetery corporation, association or corporation sole.


“Cemetery business” and “cemetery purpose” are used interchangeably and mean any business or purpose requisite or incident to, or necessary for establishing, maintaining, operating, improving or conducting a cemetery, interring human remains, and the care, preservation and embellishment of cemetery property.


“Cemetery merchandise” means personal property offered for sale or sold for use in connection with the final disposition, memorialization or interment of human remains. “Cemetery merchandise” includes, but is not limited to, an outer burial container and a memorial.


“Cemetery services” means services provided by a cemetery authority for interment or scattering, and installation of cemetery merchandise.


“Cenotaph” means a place, the primary purpose of which is to provide an area where a person may pay to establish a memorial to honor a person whose remains may be interred elsewhere or whose remains cannot be recovered.


“Columbarium” means a structure or room containing receptacles for permanent inurnment of cremated remains in a place used, or intended to be used, and dedicated for cemetery purposes.


“Cremated remains” means the remains of a cremated human body after completion of the cremation process.


“Cremation” means the technical process, using direct flame and heat, that reduces human remains to bone fragments.


“Crematory” means a structure containing a retort for the reduction of bodies of deceased persons to cremated remains.


“Crypt” or “vault” means a space in a mausoleum of sufficient size used, or intended to be used, to entomb uncremated human remains.


“Directors” or “governing body” means the board of directors, board of trustees or other governing body of a cemetery association.


“Endowment care” means the general care and maintenance of developed portions of a cemetery and memorials erected thereon financed from the income of a trust fund.


“Entombment” means the placement of human remains in a crypt or vault.


“Funeral merchandise” means personal property offered for sale or sold for use in connection with funeral services. “Funeral merchandise” includes, but is not limited to, acknowledgment cards, alternative containers, caskets, clothing, cremation containers, cremation interment containers, flowers, memory folders, monuments, outer burial containers, prayer cards, register books and urns.


“Funeral services” means services customarily provided by a funeral service practitioner including, but not limited to, care and preparation of human remains for final disposition, professional services relating to a funeral or an alternative to a funeral, transportation of human remains, limousine services, use of facilities or equipment for viewing human remains, visitation, memorial services or services that are used in connection with a funeral or alternative to a funeral, coordinating or conducting funeral rites or ceremonies, and other services provided in connection with a funeral, alternative to a funeral or final disposition of human remains.


“Grave” means a space of ground in a burial park used, or intended to be used, for burial of the remains of one person.


“Human remains” or “remains” means the body of a deceased person in any stage of decomposition or after cremation.


“Interment” means the disposition of human remains by inurnment, entombment or burial.


“Inurnment” means the placement of cremated remains in a receptacle and the deposit of the receptacle in a niche.


“Lot,” “plot” or “burial space” means space in a cemetery owned by one or more individuals, an association or fraternal or other organization and used, or intended to be used, for the permanent interment therein of the remains of one or more deceased persons. Such terms include and apply with like effect to one, or more than one, adjoining grave, crypt, vault or niche.


“Mausoleum” means a structure substantially exposed above ground for the entombment of human remains in crypts or vaults in a place used, or intended to be used, and dedicated for cemetery purposes.


“Memorial” means a product, other than a mausoleum or columbarium, used for identifying an interment space or for commemoration of the life, deeds or career of a decedent including, but not limited to, an ossuary, monument, marker, niche plate, urn garden plaque, crypt plate, cenotaph, marker bench or vase.


“Niche” means a recess usually in a columbarium used, or intended to be used, for the inurnment of the cremated remains of one or more persons.


“Ossuary” means a receptacle used for the communal placement of cremated remains without benefit of an urn or any other container in which cremated remains may be commingled with other cremated remains and are nonrecoverable.


“Plot owner” or “owner” means any person identified in the records of the cemetery authority as owner of the burial rights to a burial plot, or who holds a certificate of ownership conveyed from the cemetery authority of the burial rights in a particular lot, plot or space.


“Scattering” means the lawful dispersion of cremated remains that need not be associated with an interment right or issuance of a deed, that may be recorded only as a service that has taken place and may not be recorded on the permanent records of the cemetery authority.


“Scattering garden” means a location set aside within a cemetery that is used for the spreading or broadcasting of cremated remains that have been removed from their container and can be mixed with or placed on top of the soil or ground cover or buried in an underground receptacle on a commingled basis and that are nonrecoverable.


“Special care” means any care in excess of endowed care in accordance with the specific directions of a donor of funds. [Amended by 1955 c.545 §1; 1965 c.396 §1; 2007 c.661 §1; 2009 c.709 §10]
Chapter 97

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Embalming dead human body without prior authorization from surviving spouse or next of kin, (1981) Vol 41, p 457


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021