mountain view corbett pioneer cemetery
1888

Mountain View Corbett is the jewel in Metro’s crown of fourteen pioneer cemeteries. Lone Fir has all the cachet, publicity, and famous names, but Corbett has beauty, community, and Mt. Hood. For most people, Corbett is a spot of congestion on the way to Crown Point along the scenic Historic Columbia Highway; but for the residents, Corbett is a highly individualistic and artistic community nestled onto the flanks of Oregon’s highest mountain; and the cemetery reflects their association, not with the river, but with the mountain. The mountain is their icon and their guardian. Providing, of course, it doesn’t blow (the mountain, not the wind).

For those of us accustomed to seeing Hood from the highways cutting through the Corbetts and Sandys of the mountain side, the intimacy and cloistered charm of the farm and orchard lands off the main roads are somewhat of a surprise; and the scene from atop the knoll which Mountain View graces is picturesque beyond imagination. Surrounded by steeply sided nursery lands and forested knobs, while loomed over by the white point of Mt. Hood, this small, two-acre graveyard has fantasy views unparalleled in the lower valley. Without a doubt, there are many cemeteries which can boast views of Oregon’s signature peak—there are five cemeteries in the lower valley alone named “Mountain View”—even Metro has another Mountain View Cemetery, this time Stark, in its stable—but none nestles as up close and friendly as does Corbett. The other cemeteries only borrow views of the mountain; Corbett owns hers.

If you look hard enough you’ll find a headstone for Eugene O’Neil, except this guy was a pilot in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II.

Corbett isn’t in the Willamette Valley; it’s in the Sandy River drainage, and the Sandy empties directly into the Columbia. But it is within Multnomah County, the county of Portland, so Mountain View Corbett (as distinguished from Mountain View Stark) is the most easterly of Metro’s fourteen pioneer cemeteries. And one of its most special. Which is not surprising given that Corbett is a special community. It some ways it functions as Portland’s Big Sur: an artist’s community in the middle of nature’s splendor, only without the publicity. Or the, let’s face it, glamor. Which is probably just the way the locals would have it.

For most of us, me included, Corbett is a speed sign on the road to Crown Point. You know you’re in a different world, because the wind picks up, but few of us ever stop to see what it’s like on the ground. Finding Mountain View Cemetery will lead into into a land where Hobbits dwell. The magic of Corbett insures that their only cemetery has an impish cast which other Metro cemeteries lack.

One of the best ways to approach Corbett and the Historic Columbia Highway is to take the unlikely Stark St. to where it crosses the Sandy. The drive from the top of the bluff to the river is awesome and almost unheralded.

Directions:

Turn south on Evans Rd. in downtown Corbett. Stay on Evans until Smith Rd. meets it from the right (west). The driveway for Mountain View is just past this intersection and be accessed from either Smith or Evans Rds. The cemetery, surrounded by lush nursery stock, sits on top of a hill in the wedge of land between the two roads.
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