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Experienced jurist for Gladstone, St. Helens takes on new role in Clackamas County seat.

PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - St. Helens Municipal Judge Amy Lindgren, left, swears in a new member of the police Department.Amy Lindgren, the municipal judge for Gladstone and St. Helens, has now been hired to serve Oregon City as well.Amy Lindgren

Lindgren has worked as a Clackamas County deputy district attorney; as a criminal prosecutor for West Linn, Molalla and Happy Valley; and as a pro tem municipal judge for Woodburn, Canby and Milwaukie.

On Oct. 6, Oregon City commissioners approved a $60,000 annual salary for the estimated 40 hours of work a month required of Lindgren in her new OC judicial capacities.

Lindgren replaces Laraine McNiece, who retired at the end of May to move back to South Dakota after more than 20 years as OC's legendary municipal judge.

Oregon City commissioners oversee hiring, firing and setting compensation for the municipal judge, but they can't overturn the judge's decisions, which are appealable to the county's circuit court. PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - From left to right, City Prosecutor Sam Erskine, St. Helens Municipal Judge Amy Lindgren and defense attorney Jennifer Myrick chat briefly.

Oregon City's and St. Helens' municipal courts have a lot of similarities in serving the county seats of Clackamas and Columbia counties, which both border Multnomah County. Both courts handle traffic infractions, code-violation appeals and misdemeanor cases that are charged within the city limits.

"With COVID-19, you can't be confident about anything," Lindgren previously told Pamplin Media Group of St. Helens. "I am confident in the court's ability to serve the community. I know now that we can go virtual, if we have to — we have good staff and attorneys to help people. I know we can do it."

Lindgren was forced by state COVID restrictions to halt all St. Helens trials in March 2020, but she reopened the court in June of that year with only five people allowed in the courtroom at one time. Within a couple of weeks of the closure, she transitioned to allowing virtual appearances.

"What had been challenging for me was communicating with people wearing a mask," Lindgren said previously. "It was interesting how much I realized how much communication happens by your facial expressions. It's hard to understand and connect with people when you're wearing a mask."

Oregon City plans to hold a swearing-in ceremony at a future commission meeting to formally welcome Lindgren to her new position as Municipal Court judge.


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