ILWACO — The Ilwaco Cemetery hasn’t lost any more ground since Jan. 21, when a landslide unearthed one grave, and placed several more at risk. However, the hillside is still unstable. Members of the Ilwaco Cemetery Association say they’re still trying to figure out how to keep it from sliding again — and how to pay for the work.
“We’ve been having board meetings and making phone calls. And we’re trying to work on the funding aspects,” ICA board member Ron Hylton said on Feb. 8.
According to Hylton, two state Department of Natural Resources geologists visited the slide in late January, and confirmed that record-setting rainfall totals had contributed to the slide.
“They said. ‘Oh yeah, this is typical, all this clay, all this rain on top of it. And down it goes’” Hylton said.
The board members have also contacted Sen. Dean Takko, consulted with the accountant who manages the ICA’s finances, and asked the State Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation for help.
“The main thing is financing. We need money,” Hylton said.
State officials told the board members that they needed to hire an independent geologist who could develop a plan for fixing the cemetery. That plan could possibly involve relocating some graves to another part of the cemetery, scaling back the unstable part of the hill, and putting some type of fence or support in place along the cemetery boundary, Hylton said.
No one knows yet what the job will cost, but it could easily come to $100,000 or more, Hylton said.
Though answers are slow in coming, Hylton said he and the other board members are working diligently to come up with a solution.
“Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks, something will break and someone will say, ‘We can get you some money,’ Hylton said.