george cemetery
George is the easternmost cemetery in the Estacada Cemetery Maintenance District, about five miles due east of town as the eagle flies. The “community” of George lies on a flat high above Eagle Creek. Not far after George the Cascades start in earnest.

A word about Estacada. I spent some time debating whether or not to include Estacada in the Willamette Valley, as, in many ways Estacada is a mountain town. But not quite. Unlike, say, Oakridge, a mountain town totally dependent on timber, Estacada has an agricultural base as well. And a middling amount of tourism, as Estacada is the entrance point to a beloved part of the mountains by old-time Portlanders. Not to mention the draw of the fabled Clackamas River; fabled in part by being extolled by Robert Louis Stevenson on his way to the South Pacific, from which he would never return.

It’s also true that the Clackamas River is part of the Willamette drainage system, but that’s only on a technicality. For all intents and purposes, the Willamette Valley ends at the falls; everything below that belongs to the Columbia. The Clackamas enters the Willamette below the falls. What separates the Columbia from the Tualatin and Willamette Valleys is a stubby range called, hopefully, the Tualatin Mountains. Along with the Chehalems (which separate the Tualatin and Willamette Valleys) they force the Willamette River to head east to find the breech at the falls. The river is prevented from going further east by a jumbled blob of landscape without a recognized name other than the Highlands. The Highlands separate the Estacada agricultural pocket from the Willamette Valley. The highway, which when leaving Estacada is broad and straight, twists down to a two-lane mountain road between there and Portland. There is no freeway out of town, and Estacada remains a world apart.

The George Cemetery is distinguished by a short tower holding the school bell from what was once the George School standing a few hundred yards from the cemetery. At its base a plaque commemorates 13 George families and makes special mention of Nedra Chaney (1995) who “loved the land and its people.” All the Estacada cemeteries are smartly maintained, credit due, I understand, to sexton Jerry Griggs, who has not only cut the grass and trimmed the bushes, but restored markers and organized the records.

Update (Nov. 2009):

According to The Oregonian, Jerry's job has been taken over by Larry Gyure, who, apparently, is responsible for the introduction of green burials to the district.

Directions:

To find the George Cemetery, find the road to Eagle Fern Park, Wildcat Mountain Rd., a couple miles before Estacada on Hwy. 224 and follow it to its intersection with Howlett Rd. Turning right there, Howlett becomes Eagle Fern Rd., goes right by the park and eventually the cemetery, a few miles beyond the park, after the road has climbed out of the Eagle Creek Valley. You can also continue on Hwy. 224 a little further towards Estacada and turn left (east) on Currin Rd. Take that to where Snuffin Rd. enters from the east and take it across Eagle Creek to where it T’s up with the aforesaid road which goes by the cemetery. Turn right at the T and follow the road to the cemetery, which will be on your left.
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