Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 45° Cloudy
News >  Pacific NW

Senior facility where 2 residents died in heat wave sued

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 14, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

PORTLAND – 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 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 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?”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.