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Heritage Heroes
Erica French
Heritage Steward Certificate Honoree, Erica French.
Heritage Steward Certificate Honoree, Erica French.
Erica French
Officials responded quickly and enlisted the help of University of Oregon archaeologists and others to carefully and responsibly recover and examine human and material remains. A survey of the surrounding area to determine if other archaeological materials might be present led to the discovery of additional gravesites. Many did not include remains because they were previously opened and the contents were removed. The recovered human remains will be placed in the Gillespie Cemetery along with the other family members.
Erica has been an equipment operator for 11 years and has never found anything like this. Other folks thought that the human remains were animal bones, but, as the issue went up the chain of authority, the decision was made to get a professional archaeologist to confirm whether or not they were human.
Historic records revealed that the RiverBend site is located on the land claim of William M. Stevens. In 1847, Stevens, his wife and the couple's 10 children traveled from Missouri to Oregon. Stevens is considered to be the first American settler in the area now occupied by the City of Springfield.
Heritage Programs greatly appreciates Erica's sharp eyes and strong action when she discovered the remains. We also appreciate that Wildish, the company contracted for the project, started the process on the right foot. PeaceHealth followed all required regulations, diligently contacting appropriate government agencies to ensure full compliance.
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