The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office investigates and determines the cause, circumstances and manner of sudden, unexpected, violent or suspicious deaths that occur in Multnomah County.
Deaths that we are required to investigate include, but are not limited to, those that involve:
- Suspicious or unknown circumstances
- Homicide or suicide
- Accidents or injuries
- Unlawful use of controlled substances, or the use of a chemical or toxic substance
- Persons who die unexpectedly in good health, while not under the care of a physician immediately before death (such as at home)
- Those that happen while incarcerated in jail or prison, or in police custody
- Contagious diseases that may pose a public health threat
- On-the-job activities
During an investigation, a deputy medical examiner may respond to the scene, interview witnesses, take photographs, obtain evidence and property and assist with notifying next of kin.
What to Do After Somebody Dies
Report the Death
Contact law enforcement at Multnomah County’s non-emergency number, 503-823-3333. An officer will come out and make a report to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Make Final Arrangements
Select a funeral home or cremation service. Then contact the Medical Examiner's Office and tell us which one you've selected.
Funeral directors can help you make all the arrangements for final disposition of the deceased, including getting the death certificate.
We are unable to recommend a funeral service.
Pick up Personal Property
The legal next of kin or funeral home may pick up personal property that's not being held as evidence from the Medical Examiner's Office. Call 503-988-0055 to schedule an appointment.
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An autopsy will be performed:
- When there's a need to establish or confirm a cause and manner of death in order to issue a death certificate
- In cases involving criminal or suspected criminal wrongdoing
- In any case in which an autopsy is considered to be prudent, at the state medical examiner’s discretion
Do I have to consent to an examination or autopsy? Your desires will always be considered, however, the state medical examiner makes the final decision regarding which examination procedures are necessary.
Can I view the body? The Medical Examiner’s Office is not designed to accommodate viewing. Arrangements can be made at the funeral home for viewing.
Can the deceased be an anatomical donor? In most cases, yes. The medical examiner will authorize anatomical gifts whenever possible, although certain cases preclude donations. Donation resources»
Get a Death Certificate
After a cause of death has been determined a death certificate is registered with state vital records. Certified copies may be ordered through the funeral service or Multnomah County Vital Records.
Note: It may take 8-10 weeks or longer to get a death certificate if the exact cause and manner of death cannot be immediately determined. Special laboratory tests or further investigation may be necessary.
There is no fee for the investigation. Occasionally transportation is needed to get the body to the Medical Examiner’s Office. This cost is passed on to the designated funeral home/cremation service.
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Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office
619 NW 6th Ave, 4th Floor (Map)
Portland, OR 97209
Hours by appointment