HISTORIC CEMETERIES COMMISSION WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS – Lisa Sears, Tillamook County Joins Commission

Three commissioners have been appointed to the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. Lisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which houses the Oregon Historic Cemeteries made one appointment last fall and the other two in May.

Lisa Sears was also appointed in May and will fill the vacated coastal position. She is a genealogist and family history researcher who is actively volunteering in Tillamook County. Realizing that she had a natural curiosity about cemeteries and the histories that lie within, she visited a wide range of national and international cemeteries while researching or on vacation.  After retiring from teaching in 2020, she started conducting outreach in Tillamook County to work on cemetery preservation and community history.

Shawn Steinmetz, appointed in October 2020, is an archaeologist living in La Grande. His interest in non‐destructive technologies that can be employed to document, preserve, and help interpret historic properties is a benefit for historic cemetery management. He fills the position held for a tribal perspective and brings that perspective through his work experience at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and his personal experience.

Sarah Baylinson was appointed in May to fill a vacated central Oregon position. She is the Collections Manager and Exhibits Coordinator for the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. With over a decade of experience in the museum field, Sarah has had the opportunity to work in a variety of cultural institutions as well as volunteer in meaningful ways. Sarah is the Vice-President of the Oregon Museums Association as well as a mentor for Oregon Heritage Commission’s Mentor Corps. In her free time she likes to explore rivers, trails, and camping opportunities as well as diving deep into personal genealogical research.

State law established the seven-member Commission to maintain a listing of all historic cemeteries and gravesites in Oregon; promote public education on the significance of historic cemeteries; and help obtain financial and technical assistance for restoring, improving, and maintaining their appearances.

“We are grateful to have such enthusiastic and skilled people join the commission,” notes Kuri Gill, commission coordinator. “They will be a benefit to our historic cemeteries.” The new commissioners join: Milo Reed, chair, from Portland; Bev Power, vice-chair, from Medford; Charlotte Lehan, from Wilsonville; and Sarah Silbernagel, from Pendleton.

For more information about commission activities visit www.oregonheritage.org, contact coordinator Kuri Gill at 503-986-0685, or by e-mail at kuri.gill@oregon.gov.

For call-in details and the agenda or more information about the commission, visit www.oregonheritage.org.