So what is happening with the Tillamook Lighthouse, anyway? After Terrible Tilly (pictured in 1901) was declared surplus by the federal government, it was sold several times, the last buyers being Mimi Morissette and her partner, Cathy Riley, who had some investment backers.
On her Facebook page, Morissette has a photo of their first trip to the lighthouse, which they bought “sight unseen,” and it was a sorry mess. But not for long. Tilly was gutted, spruced up and painted, and the windows were cemented over to create the columbarium Eternity at Sea.
It sounded like a grand, even mystical idea, to have one’s ashes there, but several things went awry. There was a lack of maintenance — after all, it’s not the easiest spot to get to, certainly — and there were paperwork issues. Plus, some vandals broke in and a few urns went missing. Things just kept going downhill.
Now the Eternity at Sea website is gone, and a recent inquiry to the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board in Portland about the business received the following reply from Carla G. Knapp, office/licensing manager: “It is not a licensed operating columbarium (cemetery), since Dec. 31, 1998.”
Then Geist View‘s December 2016/January 2017 depressing drone footage (bit.ly/TTilly) shows the beloved lighthouse is in a sad state of disrepair. Not surprisingly, fierce weather and constant battering by crashing waves have caused serious damage overall, including cracks in the walls and a badly rusted lantern room.
On the bright side … back to Mimi Morissette’s Facebook page. What is there — aside from amazing photos of the lighthouse — is mention of restoring Tilly and reviving the columbarium.