Jeffrey Auxier was somewhat baffled to see rows of benches in the Columbia County Courthouse filling up with people Friday afternoon.
Friday, July 14, marked Auxier's first official day on the job as the new district attorney for Columbia County. He was appointed by Gov. Kate Brown on June 26 to fill the remainder of former DA Stephen Atchison's term. Atchison retired in May.
Before being tapped to serve Columbia County, Auxier worked in the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
A swearing-in ceremony was held just before the end of the day Friday, hosted in Columbia Circuit Court Judge Jenefer S. Grant's courtroom. Auxier was officially sworn in early that day so he could begin working that morning.
County courthouse employees, the county sheriff, county commissioners, fellow District Attorney's Office employees and a few members of the public, along with Auxier's parents and in-laws, turned out for the ceremonial swear-in.
The new head prosecutor said he values an open dialog with the community he serves.
"If there's one thing I will promise to do and commit to doing is to communicate with all members of the justice community," Auxier said. "If you're concerned about the way a case was handled, I'll listen. I'm honored to have this job ... and I hope I can earn your trust and confidence."
He said he spoke with Atchison and intends to adopt Atchison's motto of "never being political until I have to."
Auxier, who lives in Scappoose with his wife and two young sons, said his family hopes to spend the rest of their lives in Columbia County, signaling Auxier is likely to seek election for the position he was appointed to when the term ends in November 2018.