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Fund set up to pay for restoring Nyssa cemetery gravestones

Insurance coverage for the Hilltop Memorial Cemetery in Nyssa won’t pay for restoring the damaged gravestones and monuments, cemetery officials reported. (The Enterprise/Jayme Fraser)

NYSSA – With a ready insurance solution out of the question, Hilltop Memorial Cemetery is seeking donations to a fund to help repair damaged tombstones and benches.

Cemetery officials said the insurer for the rural cemetery west of Nyssa said coverage didn’t extend to the privately owned markers and memorials. Vandals a week ago destroyed or damaged 39 memorial markers, leaving behind repair work that could cost an estimated $50,000.

Sandy Smallwood, secretary of the cemetery district, said the Hilltop Memorial Cemetery Restoration Fund has been established at Umpqua Bank. She said donations of any amount can be made in the name of that fund at any branch of the bank or can be mailed to the Nyssa branch. The mailing address for that is 217 Main St. Nyssa OR 97913.

Memorial Monuments of Meridian, which assessed the damage, said in a public letter that owners of the damaged grave markers should check with their own insurers. The company said coverage of up to $5,000 might be available through homeowner policies.

The monument company said it would also offer discounts, adding that it already has catalogued the specifications for the damaged markers.

Separately, Three Rivers Crime Stoppers continues to take donations to fund a reward leading to the arrest of the vandals.

The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.