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Vandalism Hits Historic Cemetery For Second Time In A Decade

Peter Thurston
Luper Pioneer Cemetery Inc.

Lane County authorities want tips on who may have vandalized the Luper Pioneer Cemetery…again. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Vandals last trashed the North Eugene site in 2009. Dozens of markers were broken and re-arranged, one to make a fire ring. Four teenagers were eventually required to pay restitution.

Credit Peter Thurston / Luper Pioneer Cemetery Inc.
Luper Pioneer Cemetery Inc.
Luper Cemetery.

In this most recent incident, two headstones were damaged and two foot stones were taken off grounds and left along River Road sometime last month.

Peter Thurston is President of Luper Cemetery, Incorporated. He says young people have occasionally loitered on cemetery grounds after hours…standing on plots or leaning against headstones.

“We caution them against doing any of that stuff," says Thurston.  "In fact, we ask visitors to only go there from dawn to dusk and not go out there when it’s dark. Can be pretty dangerous, if one of those things falls over on someone…there’s some tall ones out there.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Peter Thurston, visiting KLCC studios.

Luper Cemetery was founded in the mid-1800s, before Oregon became a state. It’s maintained by volunteers while donations fund its restoration and maintenance.

Tips on the latest vandalism can be called in to the Lane County Sheriff’s Department (541-682-4150).

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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