By editorial board • 

Brad Berry gets re-election nod in county’s district attorney race

The American Civil Liberties Union released a report this week indicating 78 percent of Oregon’s district attorney races went uncontested between 2004 and 2014.

Yamhill County contributed, as Brad Berry hasn’t faced a challenger since initially winning the office in a three-way race in 1996. Until this year, that is.

Berry has withstood nearly every challenge that could be thrown the DA’s way, though. And while his performance has not always been perfect, he has succeeded in thoughtfully reviewing challenging actions and cases, and making changes in approach when necessary.

We believe he can continue to do so as he moves into a third decade of service. We give him our vote of confidence. 

Deputy DA Alicia Eagan is giving the boss a run this year. She has raised managerial issues as one of the reasons she decided to mount a challenge.
Eagan holds a degree in mathematics from the University of Washington and a law degree with honors from the University of Montana. She served as chief clerk at the Oregon Court of Appeals before coming to Yamhill County in 2000.

She is a member of the county’s Fire Investigation Team and Major Accident Traffic Team. She has recently found a haven outside the criminal justice system as head coach of McMinnville High School’s advanced robotics team.

Eagan said becoming DA was not a long-term goal of hers, but she wouldn’t run if she weren’t capable.

Policy wise, she said, she is largely in harmony with Berry. But she added how his frequent absences to attend conferences and such have led to some shortcomings in office management and efficiency.

Berry responded by saying his participation in state and national conferences has led to local introduction of many beneficial programs. He said such programs created the impetus, for example, for the courthouse comfort dog project and an innovative domestic violence victim program being piloted in Newberg.

Berry’s lengthy list of accomplishments include creation of the interjurisdictional Major Crimes Response Team, which he heads. And he’s always proven thorough and transparent in his handling of public records issues and major criminal cases.

Oregon ACLU Director David Rogers noted, “District attorneys determine whether someone gets access to treatment or put in jail or prison, whether a youth is charged as an adult and ... the extent of racial disparity in the system. Voters deserve to know where their elected DAs stand on all of these issues.”

We appreciate the chance to evaluate Berry on that score, and hope the discussion emanating from it leads to additional improvement at the DA’s office moving forward.