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New Law Attempts To Track People Who Die While Homeless

Brian Bull, KLCC

A new law will require death reports in Oregon to indicate whether the person who died was experiencing homelessness.



The only county that tracks that data right now is Multnomah County. Supporters say the information is needed to help understand how unhoused people die, in order to develop better strategies to prevent it from happening.



“Imagine trying to solve any problem without basic fundamental information on the nature of that problem," said Jimmy Jones, the director of the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, who testified in support of the measure. "For all the tens of millions that we spend statewide on homelessness in Oregon, we know next to nothing about the people who are dying outside.” 

The bill that created the new law passed with broad support in both the Oregon House and Senate, and Gov. Kate Brown signed it into law on June 23. It takes effect in January. 


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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