▶️ New judge appointment leads to historic bench in Deschutes County


When Gov. Kate Brown Thursday appointed Bend attorney Alison Emerson as the new Deschutes County Circuit Court judge, she made history in the process.

For the first time, the Circuit Court bench here will consist of more women than men.

“I’m really appreciative that the governor chose me as her appointee for this position,” Emerson said. “It’s really exciting. I think we have a lot of changes that are coming to Deschutes County. Hopefully we are going to get another judge soon and, hopefully, I can do some good work for our community.”

Brown appointed Emerson to replace Judge Stephen Forte, who is retiring.

Straight out of Pepperdine law school, Emerson worked two and a half years as a deputy district attorney for Deschutes County. She then practiced civil law with a Redmond law firm … and most recently with a firm in Bend.

She has presented hundreds of domestic relations and civil litigation cases for clients in Deschutes County Court . She says she knows all the judges.

Emerson also has served as a juvenile delinquency judge for the past three years.

“I’ve been doing some of the judicial work already and I really enjoy it,” she said. “I think you make a big impact in some peoples’ lives, just making a decision and helping them move on from whatever issue they’ve got going on.” 

On March 1st, Emerson will become the fourth female judge on Deschutes County’s seven judge panel.

“I think the legal profession has been dominated by men probably until the last 10 years,” she said. “So having a bench that is predominantly women is an exciting change for our community.”

She’ll hold the position unless another candidate files to run for the seat, in which case there would be an election in May.

If more than two candidates seek the office, the position would appear on both the May primary ballot and the November general election.

Emerson joins judges Beth Bagley, Bethany Powers Flint, Alycia Sykora, Wells Ashby, Raymond Crutchley and Walter Miller.



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