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Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell will become the first woman to serve as Multnomah County sheriff.

COURTESY PHOTO - Multnomah County Undersheriff Nicole Morrisey O'DonnellUndersheriff Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell has made history, becoming the first woman elected to serve as Multnomah County sheriff.

Morrisey O'Donnell currently has 62% of the vote, according to unofficial voting results as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

Capt. Derrick Peterson has 33% of the vote. A third candidate, Nicholas Alberts, currently has 4% of the vote.

The election is the first contested race for Multnomah County sheriff since 2010.

Morrisey O'Donnell is poised to take over for Sheriff Mike Reese, who is term-limited.

She is the first woman to serve as second-in-command of the Sheriff's Office, being appointed undersheriff last August.

She has served with the Sheriff's Office since 1996 when she was hired as a corrections deputy. She later went on to lead the law enforcement division and served as chief deputy of corrections.

On election night, Morrisey O'Donnell said she was honored to be the first woman elected to the position.

She said she wants to show that women who are hired at the sheriff's office have a pathway to potentially lead the organization.

"I want to be a role model for our youth, for our women in public safety and law enforcement," Morrisey O'Donnell said. "I've had the opportunity to connect with so many voters and community members along this journey. I'm just really honored and encouraged that they've instilled their trust in me."

She will take charge of the agency during a particularly challenging time. The region is experiencing record-breaking levels of gun violence and traffic fatalities as well as a housing shortage that is exacerbating an ongoing homelessness crisis.

But Morrisey O'Donnell said she is not daunted by those crises, adding that she will lean on her experience within the agency and as a collaborator outside of it to tackle the issues head on. She has already worked to implement innovative programs at the sheriff's office to meet community needs, she said. As chief deputy of corrections, she worked to create better pathways for people to integrate into life outside the jails, she noted.

"I feel deeply concerned about where we are at in our community today," she said. "The work that I do and the work that I'm passionate about is really finding the best solutions with multiple resources to ensure we are providing exceptional public safety services."

Morrisey O'Donnell secured notable endorsements from local elected officials, including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, the sheriffs of Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill and Hood River counties, and the mayors of Troutdale, Wood Village and Maywood Park — cities that contract with the Sheriff's Office for police services. Former Oregon governors Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski also endorsed her.

Peterson is captain of the Sheriff's Office's auxiliary services division, which oversees the transfer of supplies across the agency and the storage of materials for adults in custody. He started working with the agency in 1986 as a corrections deputy.

He has been a longtime diversity trainer for the Oregon Department of Public Safety and Standards Training. He also serves as president of the local chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Peterson also received notable endorsements. Several state legislators have endorsed him, including Rep. Janelle Bynum, Rep. Jeff Reardon and Sen. James Manning. Union and organizations such as Basic Rights Oregon, the Multnomah County Corrections Deputies Association and the Portland Business Alliance have also endorsed Peterson.

Alberts has served as a corrections deputy at the Sheriff's Office since 2018. Before that, he worked as a security officer with the private security provider Portland Patrol Inc.

Read about where the candidates stand on policy questions here.

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