Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Multnomah County Neighborhood Deputy District Attorney Program

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): OR

Jurisdiction(s): Multnomah County

Grantee Agency: City of Portland
Subgrantee Agency: Multnomah County - District Attorney's Office

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2014/437882

About the Program:

The Neighborhood Deputy District Attorney program in Multnomah County, Oregon, is an innovative program designed to assist the community in solving local crime problems.

Since its founding in 1990, the program has helped to reduce problems involving drug sales, thefts from cars, illegal camping, prostitution, graffiti, and many other quality of life offenses in local communities.

A program that is unique to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Unit ensures a long-term, proactive partnership between prosecutors, police, and the community.

There are seven Neighborhood DDAs in the program, each assigned to a specific Portland Police Bureau precinct. The Neighborhood DDA screens all “quality of life” misdemeanor cases, as well as select felonies of specific interest to the assigned precinct. Those cases which are deemed of particular importance to the community are kept on the Neighborhood DDA’s caseload and personally handled in all stages of prosecution, from indictment to sentencing.

To engage with the community, the Neighborhood DDA attends various community meetings in their assigned precinct area. Additionally, they work closely with all precinct officers to educate them on search and seizure issues, improving report writing, and developing strategies to address recurring quality of life problems in their area.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has supported the Neighborhood DDA program for nearly 21 years, starting with the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants (LLEBG) program and then transitioning to JAG in 2005 when both programs merged together.  

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

In 2014, the North Neighborhood DDA worked with the Portland Police Bureau’s North Neighborhood Response Team in developing a plan to obtain and execute a search warrant on a problem drug house in a district neighborhood. This house was identified as a neighborhood problem because there was a high amount of traffic coming and going to the house at all times of day and several reports of drug activity.

The owner of the home was not properly maintaining the home; the utilities had been shut off; there was excessive amounts of trash outside; the backyard was filled with trash at or above waist height; and large containers of human waste were stored inside and outside.

Due to the increased criminal activity in the neighborhood, and also the poor living conditions, the neighbors living next door to the house decided to move.

When police executed a search warrant, they removed several individuals from the home and also found a firearm. One of the individuals removed was indicted on several drug charges and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

While the police were on site, several neighbors came out to thank them and the North Neighborhood DDA for taking action on this persistent problem house.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Shannon Erskine
Deputy District Attorney
Multnomah County District Attorney's Office
Email: shannon.ERSKINE@mcda.us
Phone: 503-348-6995

Also see the following site(s):

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