Doug Brown

Rod Underhill will not be seeking a third term as Multnomah County District Attorney in 2020.

In an email sent to his staff this morning, Underhill said he plans on retiring at the end of 2020—seven years after winning the DA seat.

"I am proud to work side by side each of you," Underhill wrote. "There is a lot more work that we need to do together over the next year and a half in service to our community... I look forward to continuing our shared vision of an open and balanced administration of justice, one that honors and respects diversity in all of its forms as we provide fair, equitable and unbiased prosecution services."

As the county's top prosecutor, Underhill has leaned progressive. In November 2014, after Oregonians approved the use and possession of small amounts of cannabis, Underhill ordered county prosecutors to stop filing charges for offenses that would be legal once the law went into effect the following year (if only the Portland police followed suit). Underhill also ushered in Multonamah County's LEAD program, which allows cops to connect people caught with small amounts of meth, cocaine, or heroin to social services workers instead of criminal charges

In 2017, Underhill took steps to roll back the country's reliance on closed-door grand juries, instead opting for preliminary hearings in public courts. The same year, Underhill agreed to stop sticking people who didn't pay TriMet fares with criminal charges, instead suggesting a lower administrative penalty.

But his tenure hasn't been without contested decisions, like Underhill's hesitancy to undo the Portland Police Bureau's so-called "48-hour rule" that kicked in after police involved shootings.

Underhill's departure adds to what's turning into an increasingly interesting 2020 election cycle, with two city council seats (one without an incumbent challenger) and the mayor's office on the ballot.