PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In an effort to end capital punishment in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown ordered the Department of Corrections to dismantle the execution chamber.

On Tuesday, Brown sent a letter to the DOC director announcing she was commuting the death sentences of 17 inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

With the commutations taking effect Wednesday, Dec. 14, Brown said the Oregon State Penitentiary’s execution chamber is “unnecessary and does not serve any purpose.”

“This is consistent with my values and the values of many Oregonians, who view it as unacceptable for the state to execute individuals under any circumstances,” Brown wrote to Heidi Steward, director of the Oregon Department of Corrections. “The death penalty is immoral, it is applied arbitrarily and inequitably, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and it does not make communities safer.”

Brown ordered the DOC to shut the execution chamber down and remove all equipment housed inside, so it cannot be used for state-sponsored executions.

The Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1013 in 2019 that Brown said nearly abolished the punishment. An execution has not been held in 25 years.

Stay with KOIN 6 News as this story develops.