Worker Dies in Construction Forklift Accident in Oregon

June 6, 2024
Samantha "Sam" Deschenes died in the hospital.

By: Aimee Green

Source: (TNS)

An ironworker died Saturday, two days after she was injured in an accident at the Northeast Portland construction site for Benson Polytechnic High School.

Ironworkers Local 29 posted to its Facebook page that Samantha “Sam” Deschenes died after she was “badly injured in an accident” and admitted to an intensive care unit at a local hospital.

A spokesperson for Oregon Occupational Safety and Health said Monday that the agency has opened an investigation into the woman’s death and that “preliminary information indicates it was an accident involving a forklift.” Aaron Corvin, the spokesperson, said the agency would not discuss further details of the investigation until it was complete.

KGW first reported on Deschenes’ death Sunday.

Rick Graves, a spokesperson for Portland Fire & Rescue, said fire crews responded to a 911 call made at 3 p.m. Thursday. An ambulance with American Medical Response arrived at 3:03 p.m. and fire crews arrived at 3:05 p.m., according to the Fire Bureau.

The injured worker was transported by ambulance and died later at the hospital, Graves said.

Deschenes’ father declined an interview, saying the family is asking for privacy at this time.

Last year, Deschenes sent a letter to the Legislature in support of rebuilding the Interstate 5 bridge. She told lawmakers that she had started working as a welder, at first in a non-union position, six years earlier, was a single mom and hoped one day to work on a replacement bridge linking Oregon to Washington.

“I cross this bridge daily, and to be able to look at it and tell my son ‘Mom built that’ would be a part of my legacy,” she wrote.

A fund has been set up to help Deschenes family. Those who wish to donate can do so through this link:

A spokesperson for Portland Public Schools couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Sunday. A representative of the contractor, Andersen Construction, said Monday that work has been suspended at the site “in the interest of the health and well-being of our team members.”

The modernization of Benson began in 2021 and is scheduled to be complete this summer, according to the district’s website. During construction, students have been attending classes at the Marshall campus in Southeast Portland.

Aimee Green covers breaking news and the justice system. Reach her at 503.294.5119, [email protected] or @o_aimee.
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