PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – With extreme temperatures continuing in Oregon, the suspected heat-related death toll is rising.
As of Friday afternoon, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has reported five total suspected heat-related deaths across three Oregon counties as the July heat wave drags on.
According to Oregon State Police, the suspected heat-related deaths happened in Multnomah County over Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Officials added one suspected heat-related death also took place in Umatilla County on Tuesday and another on Thursday in Marion County.
Officials noted that none of the deaths have been confirmed as heat-related and that the final cause of death may not be known for several months.
The announcement comes as Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and other city officials held a press conference on Friday, warning Portlanders that the region is entering what could be the most dangerous stretch of the heat wave.
“What we experienced last year, 116 degrees, that was unthinkable,” Wheeler said. “But now it’s not. Now, it’s not only not unthinkable, we have to assume that this is going to be a regular occurrence in our city, and we have to act like it will be.”
During the press conference, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced she would extend the emergency heat declaration made Sunday. That declaration was set to expire on this Saturday, but Kafoury said it will now span through Sunday.