PORTLAND, Ore. — The Multnomah County Medical Examiner has identified three suspected heat deaths from the heat wave that began on Aug. 11.
One person died in Portland on Aug. 15, another on Aug. 16 and a third on Aug. 18.In a press release, the medical examiner’s office said that confirmation on the cause of death would not come for several weeks. No other details are being released at this time.
Someone died on Aug. 12 the same day temperatures in Portland hit 103 degrees. Officials had suspected the death was possibly related to the heat wave that hit the region earlier this week. However, the medical examiner's Office determined it was not heat related.
But this year, the county and state have seen a historic number of heat-related deaths.
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Before the heat wave in June, Multnomah County had only recorded two hyperthermia deaths in the past decade: one in 2016 and one in 2018. However, in the heat wave in June and July, which saw record-setting triple-digit temperatures, 62 people died in Multnomah County from hyperthermia and a total of 96 people died in the state with some other cases still pending.
KGW requested the data from the state and county regarding the heat-related deaths. Most of the people who died were older, lived alone and had no air conditioning. At least six of the people who died in the June/July heat wave were homeless.
Multnomah County said it would release more information when it became available.