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Oregon mental hospital to honor 'forgotten souls'

SALEM, Oregon--They were dubbed the “forgotten souls” — the cremated remains of thousands of people who came through the doors of Oregon's state mental hospital, died there and whose ashes were abandoned inside 3,500 copper urns.

Discovered a decade ago at the decrepit Oregon State Hospital, where “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” was filmed, the remains became a symbol of the state's — and the nation's — dark history of treating the mentally ill.

A research effort to unearth the stories of those who moved through the hospital's halls, and to reunite the remains with surviving relatives, takes center stage Monday as officials dedicate a memorial to those once-forgotten patients.

“No one wants to be laid to rest without some kind of acknowledgement that they were here, that they contributed, that they lived,” said state Senate President Peter Courtney, who led a successful effort to replace the hospital and build the memorial.

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This is an undated photo provided by Oregon State Hospital of Susanna Weber, a former patient at an Oregon state mental hospital in Salem.

(AP

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