At long last, the decrepit 128 year old Oregon State Mental Hospital was slated for demolition. As the contractors prepared for their work, they came upon an astounding discovery: a forgotten storage room holding the cremated remains of nearly 3500 patients! The lost souls had died at the hospital from 1914 to the 1970s. Now Oregon is seeking to match the remains to their relatives. The Associated Press ran a story on this sorry situation in January 2011. Excerpt:
Oregon’s state mental hospital is trying to match surviving relatives with 3,500 people whose cremated remains were once stacked away in a storage area dubbed the “room of forgotten souls.” The Oregon State Hospital on Friday published online the names, birthdays and dates of death for the former patients and prison inmates, who died between 1914 and the 1970s. The remains were discovered in 2004 in corroding copper canisters. Some of them had fused together after years of neglect.