Has a cemetery ever been sold to a developer? Seems like an easy way to deal with the local housing shortage (minus the children lost in TV sets), and could provide interesting names for condo blocks or their first-floor restaurants, e.g. "Gravey." —Rev. Kane
I was briefly concerned* that uncovering this information might distress the affected property owners. Then I realized that, between tough guys flaunting their atheist bona fides and crystal worshippers hoping for invisible friends, haunted apartments are, if anything, more desirable than the regular kind. Thus, if you wake up with an invisible, ice-cold hand at your throat, don't tell your landlord—he'll just raise your rent.
Portland is more or less littered with lost graves. Our first cemetery was located where Skidmore Fountain is now, between Southwest Pine and Ankeny streets. So far, no army of undead has risen to reap a harvest of blood from the hippies at Saturday Market, but watch this space.
To be clear, officials tried to move all the bodies when they closed the cemetery in 1854, but this was back when grave markers were made of sticks and burial records were kept (more or less) on scraps of bark, and some were missed.
Seeking a place where the departed could repose in eternal peace, city fathers relocated the Skidmore graves to the far-flung reaches of Southwest 13th Avenue and Washington Street, a trackless wilderness where no civilized man would ever tread. Folks who have been to Cassidy's on Service Industry Night might be inclined to agree with that prediction, but it's generally held that this was not far enough.
Once again, the powers that be tried with their scraps of bark to hustle all of the deceased to greener pastures, but I'm sure a few stragglers were, once again, left behind.
As the Oregon Journal put it in 1939, "although many of the graves were moved, a considerable number were obliterated, so that some pioneers repose in unknown places beneath the city."
For you ghost hunters, that second cemetery lay between Southwest Washington and Alder streets between what are now 12th and 14th avenues, plus the adjacent block that includes the Crystal Ballroom. More undead beneath your feet next week!
* No, I wasn't.