The scandal-fed political vise squeezing Governor John Kitzhaber in recent weeks has tightened untenably over the past few hours.

The state's treasurer, Ted Wheeler, and two top Democratic legislative leaders have all asked Kitzhaber to resign—with Senate President Peter Courtney telling reporters in a news conference, according to reports, that Kitzhaber was "struggling" when they met earlier today.

News of their demand follows a damning email sent by Secretary of State Kate Brown this morning in which she shared details about a "bizarre" meeting with the governor yesterday. Brown, who'd take over for the governor, wrote that Kitzhaber had called her back from Washington DC to discuss his pending resignation—only to bewilderingly ask her, once they finally met yesterday, why she'd flown back early.

It seems the end has come for the only Oregon governor elected to four terms.

Adding to the drama, there have been reports on Twitter that top Kitzhaber staffers have resigned. And there's also been a report in the Oregonian that Courtney, while speaking at the press conference in Salem, had received a note that Kitzhaber was looking to talk to Brown again about his "transition."

News that Brown had been summoned back to Oregon yesterday, first reported by an MSNBC reporter covering the winter meetings of the National Association of Secretaries of State, kicked off a flurry of rumor and speculation that Kitzhaber had decided to step down. But Kitzhaber, after those rumors ran rampant, issued a statement saying he'd stay after all.

It's clear now, however, that he's lost the faith of his partners in government—none of them seemingly reassured by his yoyo bounce yesterday with a decision of such consequence.

Kitzhaber managed to win re-election against a weak GOP challenger, Dennis Richardson, even after reports surfaced in October about conflicts of interest involving his first lady, fiancée Cylvia Hayes, and her private consulting work and public role as an unpaid official advisor. Ethical issues and questions of influence-peddling involving Kitzhaber himself have continued to pile up in recent weeks—making the governor the subject of a criminal investigation as well as the target of a probe by the state's ethics watchdog. (Read our primer of the allegations and findings here.)

Update 2:17 PM: Well... this doesn't look good. According to emails obtained by Willamette Week and KXL-FM, Kitzhaber's executive assistant asked state officials to purge thousands of Kitzhaber's private emails from state servers. The request came a day before the AG's office opened its criminal probe—and the request was denied by alert workers in the state's Department of Administrative Service, WW reports. It's a crime to destroy government documents and evidence. Also, private emails, provided they're dealing with state business, are supposed to be treated like public records.

Update 2:39 PM: And the Oregonian just made this particular bit look even worse, reporting that the emails Kitzhaber's office tried to delete were the subject of a public records request recently filed by the daily paper. The O says the governor's office had defended Kitzhaber's increasing use of a state Gmail account for public business and had directed the paper's reporters to DAS when it asked to review the emails. /// END UPDATES

The first reporting on the conflicts involving Hayes came from Willamette Week. But some of the most troubling allegations have since come from Pamplin and Oregonian reporters. Kitzhaber's travails went national after the Oregonian's editorial board called for his ouster earlier this month.

Courtney, according to press reports from Salem, has pointed out that stepping down is solely up to Kitzhaber. Oregon has no provision for impeachment. And recall petitions may not begin gathering signatures until six months after an elected official's most recent inauguration. That would put a start date for such a drive in July, assuming Kitzhaber still doesn't do what he was about to do yesterday. And quit.

Brown would serve as governor through a special election in 2016. Whoever wins that election would then finish the rest of Kitzhaber's term, through 2018.

Update 1:55 PM: Courtney's office sent out a copy of a statement he read at the presser.

“He served in the Oregon House as a Representative. He served in the Oregon State Senate. He was the President of the Oregon State Senate for a record number of years. He was elected and has served as Oregon’s governor for more than 12 years – longer than anyone else. No public servant has given more to Oregon.

“And there is another side. He is a friend. He is a son. He is a brother. He is a father. He is a human being.

“It is all of these things for which I hope he is remembered. I hope all of these things are his legacy. He deserves that. Governor John Albert Kitzhaber, MD. I am sorry.

“I know that together Oregon and her people will get through this.”