PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Jollene Brown lived in a studio apartment in northeast Portland.
Her son, Shane, called to check up on her the night of June 27. The 67-year-old’s air conditioning unit was broken, and he was worried. They'd created a swamp cooler, like a do-it-yourself air conditioner, but she said her's wasn't working well. That was the last time he spoke to her.
The next morning, Shane called her repeatedly, but she didn't pick up. He rushed over to her house and he found her unresponsive in her recliner.
“She just kind of looked like she was sleeping,” Shane Brown said. “So, at first I stopped for a moment just to see if I could tell if she was breathing or not and I couldn't. I stepped in and actually touched her and that's when I noticed something was wrong."
Jollene had several medical issues and she relied on oxygen.
"I think that, combined with the heat, is kind of like put too much stress on her body and that's kind of what ended up happening," Shane Brown said.
Shane believes a working air conditioning unit could have saved her life.
"We came from Colorado, where central air was pretty much guaranteed no matter where you went,” he said. “Just because Colorado has such fluctuating temperatures so when we moved down here it was really strange to always have to be thinking, ‘Oh I need to bring an air conditioner. I need to buy an air conditioner.’ They're not cheap and they're not easy to transport, especially for someone like my mom who is pretty much disabled."
Now, he believes all new buildings, in our area, should come equipped with central air conditioning. While he hopes for change, he's remembering his mother for her generosity.
"Her generous spirit is pretty much what everyone will remember her for that knew her,” Shane Brown said. “Because she was very much, she kept to herself pretty much but whenever you needed her or called upon her, she was there for you. Even if she couldn't be there physically, she would try to be there emotionally. She gave more than even she could spare sometimes."