Senior Facility Where 2 Residents Died In Heat Wave Sued

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A lawsuit has been filed alleging that poor management at a Portland senior independent living apartment building contributed to a woman’s heat-related death during June’s unprecedented heat wave.

The son of Charlotte Iverson filed the suit Thursday against The Heights at Columbia Knoll claiming wrongful death, negligence, breach of contract and abuse of a vulnerable person, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Royce Iverson said he believes his mother’s death was avoidable and is seeking $13 million in damages.

Representatives from The Heights did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

“I consider myself to be a forgiving person, but this was just too much,” the Texas resident said. “It is just horrible and wrong how my mom died, and this is about honoring her and defending her.”

On June 28, police found his 81-year-old mother dead, “kneeling near her bed as if in prayer,” the lawsuit said. The county medical examiner ruled she died of hyperthermia.

She was discovered because police were called to check on Ronald Dunham, who lived across from her on the fourth floor. The medical examiner also ruled he died from heat-related causes.

While checking on Dunham, police noticed Charlotte Iverson’s dinner tray sitting untouched in front of her door. According to the lawsuit, an officer asked the apartment manager if she had checked on that resident and the manager replied, “No. Why? Should I?”