PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s a new district attorney in Multnomah County.
Mike Schmidt, who won the May primary, officially took over as the DA on Saturday, the day after outgoing DA Rod Underhill retired.
In a video posted on the Multnomah County DA’s website, Schmidt spelled out his vision for the office during this “historic and unprecedented time.”
The 39-year-old said, “We have let racial disparities become commonplace and that is not OK,” adding he would listen to what the community says and “then use my authority in my office to put those changes into practice.”
“During my campaign I promised that I would bring major reform to Multnomah County and that starts now,” he said.
Schmidt, who said he was “excited and humbled” to be leading the DA’s office, promised his office “will deconstruct what is not working to then build a stronger, smarter, safer and more compassionate criminal justice system for all.”
“The system,” he said, “turned a blind eye to the suffering of marginalized community and that ends now.”
Underhill, who had been with the DA’s office for 32 years, announced in 2019 he would retire at the end of 2020. But in mid-June he announced he would step aside earlier to let Schmidt take over during this “monumental and lasting societal change.”
Schmidt will serve as district attorney for the remainder of Underhill’s term before his elected term begins in January.