Lynne Nelson

Streaming Media

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54 minutes


Sustainability -- Oregon, Natural Burial, Funeral Homes, Undertakers and Undertaking


Interview of Lynne Nelson by Daniel Donovan in Portland, Oregon on March 9th, 2009.

The interview index is available for download.


As of 2009, Lynne Nelson was the Education and Compliance Manager of the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board. Her job includes the investigation of any complaints against a mortuary or cemetery, and reporting her findings to the Board.


At the time of the interview, Lynne Nelson was the compliance manager of the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board. Nelson discusses her daily duties, which include inspecting funeral homes and presentations, pointing out that, due to staffing issues, some facilities go unchecked for up two years. If any issues arise during an inspection, they are brought to the Cemetery Board for resolution, which can include fines and penalties. The definition of sustainability is discussed, but Nelson explains that in many cases, the state is not allowed to regulate different types of burial. The state requirements for burial are explained, but in many instances the state is powerless to intervene. Currently there aren’t any specific incentives for businesses to use sustainable methods of burial. Nelson proposes that charging fees for unsustainable burial or tax credits for eco friendly methods could be used to promote sustainable practices. More cemeteries are requesting a green burial plot which is an indicator that the public is becoming more aware of sustainable burial.

This interview is part of “The Sustainability History Project: Documenting Sustainable Development and Practice in the Pacific Northwest” at Portland State University.


This digital access copy is made available as streaming media for personal, educational, and non-commercial use within the parameters of “fair use” as defined under U.S. Copyright law. It cannot be reproduced, distributed, or broadcasted for commercial purposes. For more information, please contact Special Collections at Portland State University Library at: or (503) 725-9883.

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