Two suspected heat-related deaths in Marion County under investigation

Two deaths in Marion County are being investigated as possibly caused by the high temperatures in the area over the last week. 

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office reported on Monday that a death in the county on July 29 and a separate death on July 30 are possibly heat related and are under investigation. 

No further details about the identities of the people who died were available.

The state medical examiner’s office said 10 suspected heat-related deaths have been reported since the current heat advisory has been in effect. The deaths occurred in Multnomah, Marion, Umatilla and Clackamas counties but cannot be confirmed as heat-related. According to Oregon State Police, the final cause of death may not be known for several months. 

Salem is approaching a record hot streak with eight consecutive days over 90 degrees, and seven over 95 degrees, not including Monday. According to the National Weather Service, the area saw 10 consecutive days over 90 degrees in 2018, 1967 and 1938. The record for consecutive days over 95 degrees is eight days.

During the 2021 heat dome in late June, Oregon recorded dozens of heat-related deaths, including at least four in Marion County and one in Polk County. Many of those who died from heat-related illness lacked shelter or access to air conditioning.

The state medical examiner has requested that county medical examiners follow reporting and tracking criteria when reporting deaths to the medical examiner, the agency said. 

Marion and Polk counties were under an excessive heat warning from July 22 through Sunday night.

-Caitlyn May