|We have compiled
this brief guide to arranging a funeral or cremation in Oregon to give
you a starting point and an overview of some of the main things you need
to consider when faced with the task of making funeral arrangements.
Whether you are planning
ahead, or a death has occurred or is imminent, it can be quite daunting
negating all the legalities of funeral laws, especially if you are feeling
emotionally vulnerable! Our aim is to help guide you through some
of the key questions you may have, whilst at the same time helping you
understand how you can save costs when planning a funeral.
Do you require a traditional
funeral or burial service? Or are you seeking something more contemporary?
Is the cost of the funeral an issue, are you working to a tight budget
and looking to save money where you can on funeral expenses? Obviously
having some clear ideas of what you do need from a funeral home helps you
make the decision of which funeral home is right for you. It can
really help you to narrow down which funeral services provider to select
by clearly outlining what your needs are before you start contacting funeral
Choosing a funeral home in Oregon
One of the first things you
will need to do, especially if a death has just occurred, is choose the
funeral director you wish to handle the funeral services.
There are in the region of
250 funeral homes and mortuaries in Oregon so you need to consider what
criteria can help you select the right funeral home for your needs.
Selecting a funeral service provider can be determined by both your location
and what kind of funeral services you require.
Many people seek recommendations
or referrals from family or friends, and this is a very good way to get
information. However, if you are not in a position to benefit from
a sound referral, or you are seeking something specific, you may have to
resort to contacting funeral homes yourself. Usually people look
for a reputable funeral business in their own area, but it is always advisable
to check with more than one funeral home and compare services and prices
for a funeral or cremation.
What does an average funeral
cost in Oregon?
The average cost of a funeral
in the U.S. is $7,045 (according to the NFDA - National Association of
Funeral Directors 2012), and this does not include any cemetery fees.
This generally means that the full cost of a funeral can amount to nearer
to $9,000 when cemetery fees are included. The cost for a traditional burial
is largely dependent on the type of casket you select and the final cost
of your cemetery plot and grave marker. The cost for a funeral
can be broken down into several components – the funeral director’s professional
service charges, casket, embalming, transportation and ancillary costs
such as flowers, music, prayer cards, obituary etc.
Prices do vary between funeral
services providers for the exact same service therefore It is recommended
that you DO shop around and compare funeral prices. That way you
can be sure that you have a “best value” funeral service.
All funeral homes in the
Oregon area must have a general price list (GPL) that outlines their service
charges and funeral merchandise prices. They must provide a copy
of their GPL when they quote you a price according to the Federal Trade
Commission’s ‘The Funeral Rule’.
How much does a cremation cost
A typical cremation funeral
service will cost in the region of $3,000 (depending upon the ancillary
services/products you select). This is the type of cremation service
that replaces a full traditional funeral. It is possible to arrange
a cremation for considerably less than this.
Who is responsible to pay for
funeral costs in Oregon?
Generally a person has 2 options
– to prepay and preplan a funeral or leave enough money for surviving family
to pay for the funeral. If neither of these options have been put
in place, then surviving family is liable for the funeral bill. Check
out our Library article on ‘What
is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?’
memorial services once the cremated
remains are returned to the family.
Arranging a direct cremation
A direct cremation is the least
expensive cremation option for families. A direct cremation means
that there are no services, the cremation goes ahead once all the documentation
has been completed and then the cremated remains are returned to the family
in a temporary container. Incremental options, such as a private
family viewing or an upgraded cremation urn, can be added to a basic direct
cremation package for an additional fee. This is proving a no fuss,
affordable and efficient way to manage a disposition when a death occurs.
A growing number of families today are opting for a direct cremation and
then conducting their own
How do I decide between a burial
or a cremation in Oregon?
Around 7 out of 10 funerals
in Oregon is a cremation, so cremation is by far a very popular disposition
choice for Oregonians. If the deceased left explicit wishes
this can simplify decisions otherwise surviving family may have to make
a decision. Funds for the funeral service can play a significant
role in whether a burial or cremation is chosen these days as cremation
is significantly cheaper than a traditional burial service. Having
a pre-existing cemetery plot can be an important aspect as burial plots
can be quite expensive to purchase these days. If cremation is chosen,
a cremation authorization form will need to be signed by the immediate
next of kin for a cremation to proceed. Green burial is also another
option that can be considered as an eco-friendly disposition. Bio-cremation
or aquamation (the dissolving of the human body in a high pressure water
chamber) is also available in the state of Oregon.
If you are unsure whether
to choose between burial or cremation, talk to family and friends, and
discuss the decision with your funeral director.
What legally do I need to know
Each state has its own laws
governing cremation procedures. A crematory and/or funeral home must
abide by certain practice standards in disposing of human remains by cremation.
However, certain regulations can vary by state. In Oregon a cremation
can only be performed once a ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ has been signed
by the legal next of kin and the coroner has issued the cremation permit.
[Cremation permit fee is $7.00] There is a mandatory waiting period of
24 hours before a cremation can proceed. That being said, it usually
takes about 3 days to make all the necessary arrangements and complete
the paperwork. An expedited service can be arranged if required.
A casket is NOT required
by law for a cremation. All that is required is a suitable rigid
container. A cremation container is usually a reinforced cardboard
or plywood box. If you wish to hold a funeral service before
the cremation, some funeral homes offer rental caskets.
What can we do with the cremated
remains? Laws for ash scattering in Oregon
As Oregon has a higher than
average cremation rate, there is a greater percentage of families seeking
different options for memorialization after cremation. Cremated remains
can be interred in a grave plot or cremation niche, stored in a cremation
urn at home or scattered. There are also today a multitude of creative
cremation artifacts that can be created from cremation ashes, such as cremation
diamonds, glass jewelry, birdbaths, and portraits to name but a few.
Check out our Ash Scattering section
for more information.
You can scatter cremated
remains in a designated memorial scattering garden, on private land (with
the landowners consent) or on many public and state lands. If considering
scattering on public or municipal land you should check local zoning ordinance
first. There is, however, no ‘cremains police’ and cremated remains
are sterile organic matter so they pose no threat to the environment.
As long as you use safe scattering techniques, there really should be no
concern about scattering ashes into the atmosphere. This is the official
statement from Oregon Mortuary Board concerning the legalities of scattering
ashes in Oregon.
Oregon is in Region 10 (Pacific
Northwest) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and you can conduct
a burial at sea if you so choose. A scattering ceremony should be
3 nautical miles to sea. Charter services are available to do this
for around $175.
Purchasing a casket or grave
marker in Oregon
We have comprehensive and detailed
guides to buying a casket or grave marker, so I would recommend you visit
these sections for more detailed information. Use the links on the
left-hand side. You can purchase a casket from a third-party source,
you do not have to purchase one from a funeral home, and your funeral home
must accept it without charging a fee.
Does the deceased have to be
There is no legal requirement,
or state law, stipulating that you have to have the deceased embalmed.
Oregon law requires that a body be refrigerated or embalmed if the final
disposition is not conducted within 24 hours. If the deceased needs
shipping embalming would be required in more cases, or if death was due
to a communicable disease and a viewing is being held. Embalming
is required if a public service is to be held and the deceased would be
removed from refrigeration for a period exceeding 6 hours.
Can I conduct a home funeral
Conducting your own ‘home funeral’
is a very personal way of saying goodbye. It is perfectly legal to
conduct a home funeral in Oregon, without requiring the services of a funeral
If you wish to bury your
loved one at home on your own land and establish a family cemetery, you
must first check with the local planning commission about any local zoning.
You would need to draw up a map of the property showing the burial ground
and file it with the property deed and provide disclosure of the burial
if you sell the property. [ORS 97.460]
How do I get a death certificate
The death certificate is generally
prepared and filed by the funeral director. In Oregon it must be
filed within 5 days after the death and before the cremation or burial
takes place. [Statute § 432.307] The funeral director will need all
the personal information about the deceased in order to file the death
certificate. He can order you multiple copies (if required for settling
the deceased’s estate) or you can order additional copies yourself at a
later date. The original death certificate is filed in the county
where the death occurred. The original copy stays with the health department
of the county. Certified copies of the death certificate are usually available
7-10 days after the death, however, if the death occurred outside the Portland
Metro Area, it may take up to 2 weeks.
You can obtain a certified
copy of a death certificate either online, by phone, by mail or in person
from Oregon’s Public Health Division. The fee for a copy of a death
certificate varies depending upon which service you use between $20.00
and $36.50, with each additional copy priced at $15.00. In person
a copy can be obtained within about 40 minutes, regular mail takes 8-10
weeks and online it takes 2 days to be processed and then the shipping
time. Expedited shipping can be arranged.
You do need to produce suitable
ID in order to order copies of a person’s death certificate. You
must be the deceased person’s next of kin, a legal representative of the
deceased or family members, a government agency, or an investigator.
If the death occurred over 50 years ago, anyone can order a copy of the
Can I pre-plan a funeral in
Yes, and pre-planning your funeral
is a great way to save surviving family the stress of making funeral decisions,
and finding the money to pay for a funeral. You can make pre-need
funeral arrangements direct with a funeral home or purchase burial insurance.
You should check whether a preneed contract is ‘guaranteed’ or ‘non-guaranteed’.
Monies that go into a trust are subject to annual reporting to the Oregon
State Dept. Finance and Corporate Securities Division.
What you DO need to consider
is that funeral prices could indeed be coming down. Funeral companies
promote preplanning on the basis that it “locks into today’s prices”, but
with the cremation trend increasing, and more funeral homes competing for
the ‘affordable’ funeral market – the reality is that the funeral costs
are not as ‘fixed’ as they once were.
Another funeral planning
alternative is to document your wishes and put aside the appropriate funds
in a POD Payable on Death account or a Totten Trust. This enables
family to access the funds at the time of need and make the funeral arrangements,
but you keep in control of your monies and any accrued interest.
Can I donate my body to science
Yes, donating your body to science
can be a great way to meet your end-of-life needs. You provide a
‘gift’ to society and eliminate funeral costs! MedCure (based in
Portland) offer whole body donation and take care of everything for you.
You can pre-register you interest to donate if you wish, which can help
speed the process when a death occurs. Check out our
Veterans Funerals in Oregon
Veterans are entitled to certain
benefits – namely a free cemetery plot, grave marker and US flag.
A copy of the DD214 discharge papers are required to claim these benefits
and you would need to contact the local VA office. In many cases
the funeral director will assist you with this, or undertake it on your
behalf. The VA cemeteries in Portland and Eagle Point have space
for both casketed and cremated remains. The cemetery in Roseburg
only has space for cremated remains.
How can I transport a loved
one either back to, or from, Oregon after death?
If a loved one needs to be transported
back to a state or country of origin following their death in Oregon, you
will need the services of a funeral director who can arrange funeral shipping
for you. This generally needs a funeral professional who can coordinate
arrangements at the place of death and wherever the body is being shipped
If transporting a loved one
between states in the United States you have the option of flying the body,
or transporting the body by land. Certain regulations do apply on
moving a body, and it is likely that embalming will be required as well
as specific containers to hold the casket. Shipping a body can be
quite expensive, so the other alternative you have is to have the body
cremated at the place of death, and then transport back the cremated remains.
Visit our section on Funeral
Shipping to read more.
The deceased had no life insurance
– what do I do if I cannot afford a funeral?
If you find yourself liable
to make funeral arrangements for a lost loved one, and you do not have
sufficient funds, this can be very distressing. There is very limited
financial aid for funerals and this varies by County. In such cases
the coroner may make arrangements with a funeral home and costs should
not exceed the actual minimal cost of a burial or cremation. Generally
a fixed amount is set that the County or state will pay for pauper burial
assistance. The state is responsible for the disposition of indigents
or any individual who becomes a responsibility of Oregon. You need
to contact your local County human services or social services to find
out what help may be available. A simple cremation is
the least expensive disposition option.
Who should I contact if I have
a complaint about a funeral home in Oregon?
Hopefully you will find the
services of your funeral home more than adequate, as most funeral professionals
are very dedicated in their vocation. Unfortunately though, it does
sometimes happen that you may have a complaint or grievance with a funeral
home and you do not manage to resolve it directly with the funeral director.
In this case you should make your complaint in writing to the Oregon Mortuary
and Cemetery Board who regulates and licenses funeral businesses in Oregon.
They can be contacted at: 800 NE Oregon Street # 430 Portland OR
97232 Phone: (971) 673-1500
Another useful consumer resource
is the Oregon Cremation Alliance (an affiliate of the Funeral Consumers
I hope this guide has helped
to answer some of your immediate questions. Please check out our
section for our full catalogue of resources to help you through the process
of arranging a funeral. Feel free to contact us if we can be of any
assistance with any further questions you may have.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Revised: 5th January
Homes in Oregon
Cost Funeral & Cremation Providers in Oregon