Century’s worth of pictures of Multnomah DAs removed

Multnomah County

Decision to remove came from an internal employee committee

The nearly blank wall in the Multnomah County DA’s office where pictures of past DAs were removed, August 19, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Visitors to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will no longer see pictures of the men who have held the job on the wall of the lobby. Following a recommendation by an employee committee, District Attorney Rod Underhill had the pictures removed and placed in storage. ​

“It has always been my goal to make the office feel welcoming and inclusive to everyone that works in, or visits our office. I am looking forward to enhancing our public spaces with pictures and artwork that reflects our shared values of diversity and inclusion,” Underhill wrote in an email to employees on July 31.​

Underhill explained in the email that his decison to change the decor in the lobby of the District Attorney’s office on the 6th floor of the Multnomah County Courthouse was a suggestion of his office’s Equity, Dignity and Opportunity Council.​

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to lead such a thoughtful, dedicated group of public servants – and I am especially grateful to the EDOC and others for continuing to bring forth suggestions that will improve our office and the work that we do on behalf of our community,” said Underhill. ​

The photos of past Multnomah County district attorneys had been on the wall of the lobby for decades and went back more than a century. ​

KOIN 6 News requested an interview with Underhill. ​

“Upon further discussion, our office has no additional comment regarding this matter,” wrote Underhill’s spokesman Brent Weisberg. ​

Weisberg is a member of the Equity, Dignity and Opportunity Council.​

“The District Attorney never received any complaint about a hostile environment from either the Equity, Dignity and Opportunity Council or any other member of this office regarding this matter,” said Weisberg. ​

He also said, “…our council supports and guides the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office in its objective to provide an inclusive environment which promotes equity, values integrity, and strives to establish a workplace where the rights, values, and dignity of its employees and community members are upheld and respected to assist them in reaching their full potential.”​

A wall of pictures of Multnomah County judges from the past and present, August 19, 2019 (KOIN)

Pictures of dozens of Multnomah County judges going back to 1849 are on display on the walls of the courtroom of the presiding judge on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. ​

In the lobby of the courthouse are the pictures of all current elected county officials, including Underhill.​

Visitors to the mayor of Portland’s office will see pictures of past mayors going back to 1851.​

A wall at City Hall showing the past mayors of Portland, August 19, 2019 (KOIN)

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