Death in the Time of Pandemic:
At Home Guidance for Caring for the Dying, the Deceased, and the Bereaved
Please read our specially prepared resource guide about home care during this global health crisis. We will update as necessary or as more information becomes available. Stay safe, stay calm, and care for one another. READ OUR PANDEMIC CARE GUIDE
Welcome to Oregon Funeral Resources & Education
We are dedicated to providing Oregonians with information about their legal rights and available resources when death occurs. Whether you’re anticipating a death through illness or age, or wanting to be prepared with the facts knowing death can come at any time, this website is designed to enable you and your community to be better equipped to provide meaningful, hands-on care for the dead—what is commonly called a "home funeral".
Making Oregon Home Funeral Information Easy to Find
In Oregon, no one is required to purchase the services of a funeral director or funeral home. Families may conduct any or all tasks commonly performed by a funeral home (except embalming which is not required by Oregon law), and may bury on their own property if certain provisions are met. Sometimes called "family-led after-death care" or "home funerals" this may include:
- bathing and dressing the deceased;
- sheltering the deceased at home;
- spending time with the deceased (sometimes called a wake, vigil, or viewing);
- filing the death certificate and obtaining a transportation permit;
- making arrangements for final disposition (generally burial or cremation);
- transporting the body home (or to another location) for care and viewing, and to place of final disposition;
- making arrangements for any ceremony.
Finding Your Way
While some families entrust all of these arrangements to paid professionals, or choose to forgo everything except for a simple cremation, many families find ourselves looking for more affordable, meaningful and authentic ways of memorializing and caring for our dead ourselves, in our own homes, in our places of worship, and in our communities, including more eco-friendly practices.
This website is for anyone wishing to explore the continuum of death care options, including home funerals, home burial, green burial, or simply purchasing only the products and services you really want and need.
Our goal is to empower individuals, families, friends, communities, and professionals to make decisions about death care, final disposition, and funerals based on knowledge, not simply by default.
For many, that will mean learning how to conduct what’s called a home funeral; for others, it will mean searching for a funeral director who will honor their unique ideas; for still others it will mean advocating for change in your local cemetery, hospital, and government laws and policies.
In addition to learning about death care law in Oregon, this site walks you through the practical “How Tos” of whichever aspects of after-death care you want to handle, including how to get what you want from any professionals you hire. You’ll find quick links to get assistance, a glossary of terms, and informative stories of how others have cared for their dead.
Because so many helping professionals are unfamiliar with family- and community-directed care for the dead, we’ve included professional education materials and resources for use in community education.
As Max's story illustrates, any family can encounter the barrier of uninformed professionals. Black, Indigneous, and other People of Color communities may also encounter barriers in both healthcare and death care systems created by discriminatory practices or implicit racial bias. See our Resources section for more on the impact of systemic racism on death care.)
It is our hope that the resources of this website equip more families and community advocates to dismantle the barriers to meaningful and respectful family-led care for the dead.