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Son sues over mother’s death at Oregon senior facility during heat wave

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 12:57 AM CDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) - A man filed a $13 million lawsuit against a senior living facility in Oregon alleging the wrongful death of his 81-year-old mother during a triple-digit heat wave.

Dozens of people died the final week of June during the Pacific Northwest’s heat wave, many of them in homes without air conditioning. Charlotte Iverson, 81, was one of two people who died at The Heights at Columbia Knoll, a senior living facility in Portland, Oregon.

Her son, Royce Iverson, says he lost his best friend that day and feels like more could have been done to save his mother. He filed a lawsuit against the facility for her death.

Charlotte Iverson, 81, was one of two people who died at The Heights at Columbia Knoll, a...
Charlotte Iverson, 81, was one of two people who died at The Heights at Columbia Knoll, a senior living facility, during the June heat wave. She was found in her room with no air conditioner.(Source: Iverson Family, KATU via CNN)

“You’re just numb. It’s nothing you prepare for. She was in fine health, and it was a real shock,” Royce Iverson said.

The lawsuit says air conditioning at the Heights failed during the heat wave, making it intolerably hot, sometimes 98 to 100 degrees indoors.

Charlotte Iverson was found in her room with no air conditioner.

“The medical examiner told me that she died an excruciatingly painful death,” Royce Iverson said.

Up until his mother’s death, Royce Iverson traveled monthly to see her for a week at a time. Their relationship was as close as it had ever been, but now, those memories are all he has left.

His lawyer, Kristin McCall, says the case is about more than money, and while it will never bring Charlotte Iverson back, she says their hope is to prevent this from happening to any other family.

“No amount of money can change this, but it’s about accountability and awareness in a situation that was utterly preventable,” McCall said.

The Heights said it was looking into the air conditioning in July.

Copyright 2021 KATU via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.