Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell is leading by a wide margin in the race to become the next Multnomah County sheriff, according to early returns.

“I’m just honored and encouraged that our community have the trust in me to lead this organization at the highest levels, especially as we’re really navigating really challenging times where people don’t feel safe in our community,” Morrisey O’Donnell said.

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A 25-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, she most recently served as undersheriff, appointed by retiring Sheriff Mike Reese. She was endorsed by the Multnomah County Deputy Sheriffs Association, several local news organizations and two former governors.

Morrisey O’Donnell said one of her main priorities, and a deeply personal mission for her, will be reducing gun violence.

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“At a young age, my father was shot in the chest by a 15-year-old boy that was robbing his store. He lived, but I’ll never forget how quickly our sense of safety was ripped away from us as a family and as a community,” Morrisey O’Donnell said. ”I’m deeply connected to working with our partners to end gun violence in our communities. Because I know how this impacts all of our community members.”

Multnomah County Undersheriff Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell.

Multnomah County Undersheriff Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell.

Andie Petkus Photography

Morrisey O’Donnell is trained as both a law enforcement agent and a corrections officer. If her lead holds, she will become the first woman to serve as sheriff of Multnomah County and one of just three women to hold the post statewide. Sheriff Angela Brandenburg took office in Clackamas County in 2021 and Sheriff Michelle Duncan was appointed in Linn County in January.

As a music major at the University of Portland more than 25 years ago, Morrisey O’Donnell said she never would have predicted this future for herself.

“But I knew I wanted to serve my community,” she said, “and I chose to serve through the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.”

This is a developing story. Watch for updates.

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