On average, one homeless person dies a week in Multnomah County. The first study of its kind for the area was released Friday.
Researchers found that many homeless people struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, and sometimes meet a violent end.
The state medical examiner counted 47 people who died in Multnomah County without an address last year.
County health officer, Dr. Paul Lewis, says it's a diverse group.
"There was a wide range of ages, 18 to 68 years of age. There were more men than women. And there were many different races and ethnicities among this group," Lewis says.
Of the 47: 21 died of intoxication, 7 from trauma, 6 were alcohol related, 4 from suicide, 3 from heart disease, 2 from homicide, 1 from diabetes, and three were either undertermined or unspecified.
While the report paints a pretty bleak picture, Lewis believes the death toll has likely been undercounted.
"The data that was accessible to us was from the state medical examiner. But what it does not include is deaths of people with medical conditions, who were under any kind of medical care at the time of their death," Lewis says.
Charles Yost has struggled with alcoholism in the past and been homeless on Portland's streets. He also thinks deaths are undercounted.
"In my mind. I would think there'd be a lot more than that. It's dangerous out here on the streets man. Everyday I go out there and look around. I've got housing now, but everyday it reminds me, that's where I could be," Yost says.
Portland's housing commissioner Nick Fish called the new study, shameful.
"The conclusion in this report is that last year on average once a week someone died on our streets and that death was preventable. That is shameful and so today is a 'call to action.'"
For his part, Fish promised to fight to keep a $5 million one-time sum in the budget for the city's safety net.