|Erin Phelps of Omega Cremation & Burial Service in Portland looks over boxes of remains of unclaimed bodies|
Funeral providers say a lack of state oversight and possible misuse contributed to a nearly 30 percent spike in the number of Oregonians cremated last year through the Indigent Burial Fund.
The state offset the cremation costs for a record 358 people, about 1 percent of the estimated 31,000 people who died in Oregon in 2011. The fund paid for 278 cremations in 2010.
The weak economy did contribute to the increased demand on the fund, said Tim Lancaster, president of the Oregon Funeral Directors Association. But a bigger factor is families who refuse to pay for dispositions because they believe the state will pay the bill.
Read the full story at The Oregonian