wilhelm's portland memorial
If there’s any place in Oregon that deserves the name “necropolis,” the mausoleum here is it. It goes on forever, something like ten or eleven (depending on how one counts) labyrinth floors of corpses and ashes. “A combination of towering sprawling wings, built in Victorian, Art Deco, and Spanish styles, it houses more than 58,000 residents with room for another 120,000. It’s a 3.5 acre city within the city. A city of the dead,” writes Chuck Palahniuk in Fugitives and Refugees. He acknowledges that he used the mausoleum “as the basis for [his] second novel, Survivor. Part of the book [he] even wrote here.” What’s noticeably lacking are epitaphs, which apparently aren’t permitted. The only one I saw was for an 18 year old girl murdered in 2003, Cassondra Brown, who vault reads: “Beloved sister to women and dogs.” Cassondra’s vault is laid sideways rather than end-to, in itself not that unusual; what’s unusual is that they allocated her two vaults, both of which are covered with mementos.

Look for The family vault of noted architect John Yeon. One presumes he did the designs for the window and ceiling.

Located in Sellwood-Moreland at the corner of 14th and Bybee, overlooking Oaks Bottom. Oaks Bottom is next door to Oaks Amusement Park, one of Portland’s premier archaic attractions. It adds to the ambiance of Sellwood, a perfect Norman Rockwell neighborhood.


Every Memorial Day they open the Rae Vault for public viewing. They also conduct an open house with tours on that day. These shots are from 2012.


At 6705 SE 14th Ave., Portland; in Sellwood-Moreland.
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