Locals say conditions at Yakima Valley cemeteries are "just sad"
ZILLAH, Wash. –- Sandi Walker says she has generations of family members buried at the Zillah Cemetery, all the way back to her great-grandparents. She says, however, when she last visited the cemetery on Memorial Day, she was taken aback.
“Almost every grave we walked by, people were just in tears going, ‘Look at this. This is terrible. This is disrespectful.’ It’s just sad,” said Walker.
She says in addition to the dead, dry grass, people couldn’t believe the messes they found on the gravestones of loved ones.
“Several of the graves were so muddy, you couldn’t even read a name off. Several of them were veterans, which really upset me. There was a flag there, but you didn’t even know whose it was,” said Walker.
Rachel Bailey shares a similar story. She says she has plenty of loved ones buried at West Hills Memorial Park, and that for the price she paid, she expected better.
“There is some dead patches and not proper watering. They don’t keep the grass down around the headstones. There’s a fee of $200 when you buy the plot to do maintenance,” said Bailey.
She said on top of that, she was charged an additional $178 for upkeep.
“You would think with the price that they charge, it would just be perfect and immaculate,” said Bailey.
A problem like this however, isn't unique to West Hills, as we've gotten complaints like this about cemeteries across the valley.
I reached out to West Hills Memorial Park and the Zillah Cemetery.
Zillah Mayor Scott Carmack says he realizes there’s work that needs to be done on the cemetery. He says the city is on top of it, and in fact, Tuesday they were meeting with an irrigation company to boost the amount of water they put on their grass. As for the dirt around the headstones, Carmack says the city is taking care of the mess, and that the cemetery is a work in progress.
“I’d say the cemetery is an ongoing problem. Just like any park or public landscape in a municipality, it just takes work, and we’re doing the best we can to make it better,” said Carmack.