As reported in this week's Murmurs column, word in political circles is that longtime Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk (pictured left) is considering stepping down after 30 years on the job.
Sean Riddell, a former deputy for Schrunk who now heads the criminal division at the Oregon Department of Justice, is already gunning to take over the DA's office.
But the lawyer often viewed as the DA's chosen successor is Rod Underhill, who has worked in Schrunk's office for more than 22 years. The last four years of Underhill's stint has been as a chief deputy.
In an interview Wednesday, Underhill played more coy than Riddell about his interest in Schrunk's job. Underhill says only that he "would very seriously look at it" if Schrunk's job opens up.
Underhill says he's already putting out feelers to gauge his support among key members of the community. Underhill declined to say who those people are, but he says the results have been "very positive."
"I'm humbled [and] honored," Underhill says. "I can see the hard work has paid off; the work ethic has paid off."
If Schrunk steps down before his current term expires in 2012, it's up to Gov. John Kitzhaber to appoint a replacement. Schrunk tells WW he hasn't yet made a final decision on when to retire.