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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Back from the dead’?: Two choices for Moran Cemetery District board say graveyard needs attention

By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Both candidates running for a Moran Cemetery District commissioner seat say they have little information about the organization to which they pay property taxes every year and hope to join the board to learn more about it.

Little information is readily available online about the cemetery district, including how many commissioners there are and who currently holds the seats. A Facebook page dedicated to the district hasn’t been updated since 2020. The district positions typically attract little interest and it’s unusual to have a contested seat. The cemetery is located on the southern edge of Spokane at 2807 E. 65th Ave. The taxing district, which is officially named Spokane County Cemetery District 3, had annual operating revenues that ranged from $30,800 to $52,900 from 2019 to 2021, according to a state audit report.

Sydney Wissel grew up in Seattle and moved to Spokane three years ago. She takes great pride in maintaining her 10 acres and provides volunteer landscaping work for local organizations. Part of the reason she decided to run for the district was to see what she could do to clean up the cemetery.

“I see that cemetery could use a lot of help,” she said. “I’ve walked through it. There are some very old graves. I don’t think they’re being honored.”

The cemetery needs to be weeded and the grass fertilized, she said.

“I see baby trees popping up here and there,” she said. “Some of the graves have really old dead rose bushes.”

Wissel said she’s asked around about the cemetery district, but no one seems to know anything about it or how it operates.

“Part of the reason I’m running is because I’m curious about it,” she said.

She’s also interested in politics and felt that running for a cemetery commission seat would give her some experience.

Both Wissel and opponent Ken Zigler see their candidacy as a way to “dip their toes” into politics.

“It’s part of my interest in giving back to the community,” Wissel said.

Zigler said he’s been wanting to enter public office and the cemetery district “seemed like a good way.”

He said he also was interested in learning more about the cemetery district and was unable to find much information. He’d like the commissioners’ work to be more public.

“I just wanted to bring that board back from the dead,” he said, adding that maintaining the historic cemetery is important work.

“I like to go run through there. I’d just like to be a good steward.”

Zigler said that if he’s elected he’d do his best to serve the community.

“I take my obligations seriously,” he said. “I like to be community oriented.”