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Honoring the Past - List of Unclaimed Cremains

Uniting families with deceased patient cremated remains

While the Oregon State Hospital has made enormous strides toward improving the care and treatment of the patients of today, there is unfinished work in honoring patients of previous generations.

Oregon State Hospital is custodian of the cremated remains of approximately 3,500 people who died while living or working at Oregon State Hospital, Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital, Mid-Columbia Hospital, Dammasch State Hospital, Oregon State Penitentiary and Fairview Training Center. They, as well as members of the community, were cremated at this facility between 1914 and 1973. Some of these cremains are waiting to be claimed.

A history of the cremains and the hospital's memorial is shared in the OSH Memorial Booklet. The booklet, also available at the memorial itself, reveals detailed information about how Senate President Peter Courtney discovered the unclaimed copper urns in 2004 and how he vowed to secure funding for the memorial's construction. The building was completed and dedicated in 2014.

Even before the memorial's completion, the hospital has remained committed to uniting cremains with family members. To that end, it posts a list of individuals whose cremated remains are in its possession. Hospital officials urge anyone who thinks he or she may have a family member who passed away at one of these institutions to review the list. After the connection is confirmed, the hospital will arrange for the family to receive the cremains.

Memorial for unclaimed remains

Oregon State Hospital has a memorial honoring those individuals whose remains were unclaimed for decades and those that may never be claimed. The project, a collaboration with the Oregon Arts Commission, was funded by the Percent for Art in Public Places Program in the hospital's construction budget.

The Oregon Percent for Art in Public Places law (ORS 276.073-090) was passed in 1975. It requires one percent of direct construction funds of new and renovated state buildings, with construction budgets of $100,000 or more, be used for the acquisition of works of art.

List of Names

The names of people whose cremains are in the custody of the state hospital are listed alphabetically by last name. Listings include the date of birth and the date of death, when known. The Oregon Legislature passed a law that allows the hospital to disclose this information, which is protected by privacy laws, for the purpose of reunification and construction of a memorial.

Note: List of names is updated on a periodic basis.

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Examples of how to refine the list:

  • Click on any column name to sort the list in ascending or descending order
  • Type "tho" in the Search field to bring up variations of names containing "tho" in any name field
  • Type "1898" in the Search field to filter the list to show only records with 1898 in a date field
  • Type "tho 18" in the Search field to filter the list to show only records with "tho" in any name field AND "18" in any date field

Please Note: If you cannot find the name of someone whose cremains you think may be in the possession of the hospital, check for different spellings. Information for the database was compiled from several sets of hospital records and archives. Many records are handwritten, and the hospital has more than one spelling for some patients. If the date of death matches and the name is similar to that of your relative's, please contact the Health Information Department.

How to Claim Remains

Families who identify relatives on this list should contact the Health Information Department at 503-945-2976. You can also reach the Health Information Department by email at or at OSH Health Information Department, 2600 Center St. NE, Salem, OR, 97301.

Families need to provide the following information:

  • A completed and signed Request for Cremated Remains form (9088).
  • Once the required documentation is received, the Health Information Department will review and process the request. If the request is approved, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment to claim the cremains.

Blue Mountain Recovery Center - Pendleton, Oregon

Blue Mountain Recovery Center in Pendleton was part of the Oregon State Hospital system. Patients who died between 1913 and 1982 were cremated at the time of their deaths. In 1984, cremains not claimed by family members were buried in several common graves at Olney Cemetery, 865 Tutuilla Road, Pendleton, OR 97801. The contact number is 541-276-8100.

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