The Beaverton resident and public defender has support from several prominent Oregon progressives.

COURTESY - Washington County District Attorney candidate Brian Decker was a prosecutor in Arizona before moving to Oregon. A Beaverton public defender says he will challenge incumbent Kevin Barton for the office of Washington County district attorney.

Beaverton resident Brian Decker is an attorney with Metropolitan Public Defender, where he serves disadvantaged children, according to his campaign announcement.

Before moving to Oregon, Decker also served as a prosecutor for the United States Attorney's Office in Tucson, Arizona, where tried eight federal felony jury trials involving drugs and human trafficking, according to Decker's LinkedIn profile.

Decker is running on a campaign focusing on redefining public safety, earning him endorsements from several progressive elected officials, including Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty and state Rep. Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, who represents a swath of Washington County that includes some of the Westside's poorest neighborhoods.

"Brian understands why and how we must reimagine public safety in Washington County in a way that works for everyone," said Campos, who was first elected in 2020, in a statement accompanying Decker's campaign announcement. "I know he has the skillset to create change and restore confidence in our criminal justice system, which is why he has my full support."

Decker has endorsements from some local union representatives as well.

"Brian sees the inequities in our system that have disadvantaged underserved communities," stated Thomas Mosher, political director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. "We are fully committed to making him the next district attorney for Washington County."

Decker's campaign announcement touts his experience as both a public defender and a prosecutor, giving him perspectives on the success and failure of both sides of the system. His campaign claims that he knows how to make the "system work for everyone."

On his campaign website, Decker criticizes Washington County's current approach to justice, which he says focuses too much on conviction rates and perceived toughness. He instead advocates restorative justice and a "holistic-based approach" addressing crime.

"Across the country, and right here in Oregon, our communities are recognizing the failings of the current criminal justice system and calling for reform," Decker tweeted on Monday, Sept. 13.

Incumbent Barton, meanwhile, touted Washington County's "well-functioning public safety system," in a recent op-ed published by Pamplin Media Group.

"We embrace responsible reform, understanding that while many aspects of our system work well and allow our county to remain safe, we are obligated to evolve to ensure that the needs of our growing and diverse community are met," wrote Barton, a Sherwood resident who became district attorney in 2018 and is up for re-election next year.

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