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Medical Examiner Division

The Oregon State Medical Examiner has published the 2020 Oregon Wildfire Mobile Morgue Operations: Lessons Learned and Preparation for Future Mass Fatality Response report. - Oregon State Medical Examiner 2020 Mobile Morgue Summary.pdf

This document details the mobile morgue operations and State Medical Examiner's response to the wildfires in September 2020. It outlines the successes, challenges, and lessons learned in fatality management during this incident.  It also highlights the amazing partnerships at the federal, local, and state levels as well as the countless volunteers that allowed for uninterrupted operations. 

On September 7, 2020, a series of high-wind events and dry conditions triggered the spread of multiple fires across the state of Oregon. By the morning of September 8, the Holiday Farm, Beachie Creek, Lionshead, S. Obenchain, and Almeda fires were burning out of control in Lane, Linn, Marion, and Jackson counties. The Oregon State Police Medical Examiner Division began preparation for a mass fatality event. Initial estimates projected upwards of 200 deaths. In the end, the total number of deaths related to the wildfires was confirmed at 9. The primary purpose of setting up the Mobile Morgue was to identify decedents and reunite them with their families as soon as possible. The Medical Examiner's Office describes a Mobile Morgue as more than a place to temporarily store decedents, as it was set up and used to perform complete medical examiner autopsy services.

This report details the Medical Examiner's Office response and deployment of the Mobile Morgue Unit from September 8-22, 2020.

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We manage all aspects of the state medical examiner program with responsibility for the technical supervision of county offices in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. We certify the cause and manner of a death requiring investigation within the authority of ORS Chapter 146. This activity may include post mortem examination or alcohol and drug analyses. The division maintains state records and provides lectures and training on legal medicine and death investigations to medical school physicians and students, attorneys, law students, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and other persons associated with the death investigation system.

 
This board meets annually. They develop policy, recommend budget and review the Chief Medical Examiner’s report. Please review ORS 146.015 and 146.025 for more details.​ 

The State Medical Examiner Advisory Board is meeting on November 10, 2021 beginning at 4:00 pm.  The meeting will be held virtually via Webex. Please contact the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office if you wish to attend. 971-673-8200.​

MEAB Annual Meeting November 10, 2021 Agenda 

The State Medical Examiner's Office offers a comprehensive medicolegal death investigator training program designed to offer professional development to death investigators throughout the state. This course is offered annually to county level physician medical examiners and medicolegal death investigators (MDIs) whose primary responsibility is the medicolegal investigation of death in their community.​

OCMLDI_Application_October 2021.docx

How do I request medical examiner reports? What do I need to include in my request?

  • All report requests must include our records request form found here: Medical Examiners Records Request Form
    Additional requirements detailed below.
  • Family members: A copy of your state issued ID.
  • Insurance Companies:  An authorization to release information signed by the next of kin. Payment made out to the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
  • Attorneys:  A letter stating who you are representing and why you are requesting records. Payment made out to the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
  • (For Multnomah County and Clackamas County deaths, please contact those agencies directly for report requests.)

When can I expect to receive the reports I requested?
             
  • Once all the reports are finalized, we generally fulfill requests within one week.

How do I get a copy of the death certificate?

  • Death certificates can be obtained from Oregon Vital Stats

How long are Medical Examiner reports available?
              
  • The State Medical Examiner’s Office maintains records for 25 years after the date of death.

Who is entitled to these records?
 
  • Under ORS 146.045 (5)Notwithstanding ORS 192.345 (Public records conditionally exempt from disclosure)(36):
    (a)Any parent, spouse, sibling, child or personal representative of the deceased, or any person who may be criminally or civilly liable for the death, or their authorized representatives respectively, may examine and obtain copies of any medical examiner’s report, autopsy report or laboratory test report ordered by a medical examiner under ORS 146.117 (Autopsies).

 

Please review the form for more details. There are different offices to send your request and different fees depending on the circumstances.

 

Please contact us if you have questions.

 

These charts will show you the breakdown of drug related deaths in Oregon by county and drug type. We will improve on these reports over time. Drug related deaths​

Chief Medical Examiner
Sean Hurst, M.D.

Deputy State Medical Examiner
​Michele Stauffenberg, M.D.

Deputy State Medical Examiner
Rebecca A. Millius, M.D.

Deputy State Medical Examiner
Clifford Nelson, M.D.

Deputy State Medical Examiner - Lane County
Daniel W. Davis, M.D.

Deputy State Medical Examiner - Southern Oregon
James Olson, M.D.

State Forensic Anthropologist
Veronica “Nici” Vance, Ph.D.

Forensic Administrator
Kelsey Evans


 
​Contact

State Medical Examiner
13309 SE 84th Avenue
Suite 100
Clackamas, OR 97015
​​​Phone: 971-673-8200
Medical.Examiner@osp.oregon.gov​

Hours
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday

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