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MORTUARY BOARD DECISION: "Action To Be Taken"

This article concerns the recent 'preliminary decision' by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board regarding Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home.
Press Release: It seems that, even in the land of the dead, there may be justice for the speechless. In a decision reached at the end of May, the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board have reached a "preliminary decision" in the case of Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home, their funeral home manager, Michael J. Orcutt and allegations of '"corpse abuse" and 'racism' as filed in a complaint with the board. After the investigation was launched on April 21st, 2005 the board has come to the decision that "action is to be taken" against Orcutt and Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home.

After "several dozen'"interviews with certain associations and ex-employees, the board has decided that, in addition to the action to be taken, that they have "elected to go further into the investigation". Now, they will investigate each allegation seperately and determine if further action should be taken, according to inside board information. The "action" that is to be taken at this point is speculative and what exactly Orcutt is to be taken action against is still unclear. David Koach, the Executive Director at the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board, has declined to say . . . just about anything, with the execption that "the board is awaiting a 'notice of disciplinary action' from the Attorney General's Office". Kevin Neely is, apparently, the man in charge of that "notice" there.

So it seems that the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board have "discovered" something to the allegations or they would have not gone this far with it. Surely, they would not have taken the word of a man like me, an ex-criminal with "no truth in him" (as it has been stated). Apparently, more people have spoken and given some light to the dark situation that I began with.

Allegations of corpse abuse and racism went public in April when I, a former apprentice of Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home was fired after inquiring if the Board had ever come to investigate Rose City. Rose City terminated me for "using an unauthorized computer" but the real reason is known by many.

For those who are new to the story, I have included a copy of the original complaint that began the jaunt with Rose City. Those readers can also read the previous articles that were published in April by doing a Portland Independent Media search and using 'Racism and ugliness at Local Funeral Home" or "Rose City".

This is the first of a series of articles published in regards to this decision. More articles are going to explain what "disciplinary action" has been 'secretly" handed down by the Attorney General's Office.
Please contact Floyd Decker by e-mail.

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anti-racism | human & civil rights

Racism and Ugliness at Local Funeral Home
author: Floyd Decker        e-mail:  gardenofhornets@yahoo.com
This published piece is the full version of a letter written by a local mortician's apprentice regarding the events that took place at Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home on Fremont St in Portland, OR. The letter was registered with Oregon's Mortuary and Cemetery Board. The events are shocking and true and I hope will let readers understand the type of horror and racism that has gone on their by their General Manager, Mr. Mike Orcutt. A formal investigation is under way as is notices to Portland's African - American Community and other local care centers.

A full article on Portland's Death Care Industry is coming soon! It is entitled: Deep Into Death: How Portland's Death Care Industry Goes Well Beyond Six Feet.
April 18, 2005


From: Floyd Decker
3700 NE 42nd Ave
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 281-9362


To: Bill Bennington
Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board
Portland, OR


Mr. Bennington:

This letter is my written statement of the events that occurred at Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home during my tenure there from October of 2004 to March of 2005. The complaint is principally directed at the Managing Director, Mr. Mike Orcutt. The situations that follow I considered to be horrible and in direct violation of Rule 830-030-0090, Section (H) and (I) and Rule ORS 166.085 and ORS 166.087. I am a mortuary science student at Mount Hood and was employed at Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home and feel that their actions have presented me with a downhearted view of the Funeral Industry here in Portland.

On or about January 16, I was working with Mr. Orcutt in the embalming room. On the embalming table was an African- American woman who had died of breast cancer and whose breasts and lateral torso area was horribly disfigured as a result of the cancer. Mr. Orcutt, when he saw her (after I had taken her out from her sheets and placed her on the table) commented with a grimace/smile, "Oh, God, looks like that nigger lady needs to be dead."
"Mike," I said, surprised.
"Oh, don't worry, we say nigger around here all the time. Shit, that's what they are."
Mr. Orcutt's use of the word "nigger" had not been uttered before in front of me but after that evening, I feel he believed he was comfortable in doing that around me so he continued his use of the word. When a friend of mine's uncle passed, Mr. Green, Mr. Orcutt freely used the word nigger to describe the elderly man on the table and that the funeral home was going to be filled with "niggers" during the service.

Additionally, during the month of February a young African-American woman aged 28 years had passed of renal failure. She had two children. When she was unclothed on the table Mr. Orcutt looked at her and bent his head down and ran his tongue in the air along the line of her crotch. When she was being placed in her casket, Mr. Orcutt placed on her one piece of her clothes and began to dance around in the prep-room with it on. He also did this with an elderly woman's hat, startling me in the process as when I turned around he was wearing it. With regards to the young African-American female, Mr. Orcutt additionally, when she was in her casket, bent down and actually kissed her lips and commented, "Even dead, she looks good enough to fuck." When I responded that that was wrong, he responded, "Well, it's still true. Look at that body."

In addition, during the early part of March we had two obese women come to the funeral home. On both of these women, Mr. Orcutt freely commented that they were to be called "Whales" because that is what they were. "Let me show you a trick with the whale-lady", he would comment and in one instance used his tongue to imitate licking in between the folds of her flesh. On the other obese woman, he rubbed her left breast with his right hand and commented, "Ooooo, that's nice."

When my girlfriend came in to pick me up from the funeral home, she sat in Orcutt's office while I was finishing up in the prep-room. She informed me that he threw the word "nigger" around freely, telling her that "we use that word all the time here." She was furiously offended.

Mr. Orcutt's manners and attitudes towards the people that he serves are abhorrent and insolent, lacking any regard for those he serves. His behavior is constant and he freely believes that the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board "does not have the resources and funds to come fuck with us".

I must mention that I was terminated from Rose City on March 20th, 2005. These events took place before that date and I will admit that I was aggravated at my termination which, I must say, came from the owner and not from Mr. Orcutt. I had considered reporting this earlier but was in fear of losing my job as surely would have happened. Since I no longer have that worry, I decided to report the matter.

I have informed my friend's family of the event and they know the family of the young African-American girl who died of renal failure. I have written letters to the African-American community as well as to Mr. Orcutt himself. These letters mention my desire to report the events to the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board as well as other organizations. I hope that you will investigate this matter and further inform Rose City that their actions cannot be tolerated much longer as it will affect the funeral industry as a whole here in Portland.

I swear these statements to be true. Also, other members of the staff were also present but I doubt that they would concur, as the loss of their employment would be a substantial possibility. If you have any further questions, then please do not hesitate to call me at your convenience.


Respectfully,


Floyd Decker

Dismissed 09.Dec.2005 20:17

A Friend

All allegations against this poor mortician have been dismissed by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board. Thank God it is over.........