We are walking on one of eight floors inside the largest and oldest indoor cemetery west of the Mississippi: The Portland Memorial Mausoleum.
“It is the final resting place for approximately ninety thousand people,” says my guide Sara Lewis.
That’s roughly the population of Federal Way, entombed in vaults, or more commonly, as ashes encased in urns.
“And there's corridors after corridors after corridors,” says Lewis. “Some of them end at a dead ending and others take you around in circles so it's an amazing space.”
Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk says it is one of the must see places in Portland.
“It's like being trapped inside an Escher painting because there are so many different levels, and they're all so kind of haphazardly added to that you become instantly confused and lost and disoriented in this fantastic city of death,” says Palahniuk.
The Portland Memorial Mausoleum may be one of the Northwest’s most fascinating landmarks, but it is also one of the least seen. That’s on purpose, to provide privacy for family members. The mausoleum is open to the public only over Memorial Day weekend.