Disability Rights Oregon, the watchdog group that has won landmark settlements for disabled Oregonians, has named Jake Cornett to be its new executive director.

Cornett, who currently advises U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on policies relating to disabilities, will replace Bob Joondeph, who is retiring after 33 years at DRO.

Under Joondeph's leadership, DRO led the fight to close institutions such as Dammasch State Hospital (closed in 1995) and the Fairview Training Center (closed in 2000), which warehoused developmentally disabled Oregonians in often inhumane conditions.

DRO has won also litigation over curb cuts, working conditions for Oregonians with disabilities and, more recently, won new protections for mentally ill prison inmates and for juveniles held at NORCOR, a regional jail in The Dalles.