Gov. Ted Kulongoski has appointed attorneys Benjamin Bloom and Timothy Gerking to fill Jackson County Circuit Court vacancies left by the retirement of judges Mark Schiveley and Raymond White.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has appointed attorneys Benjamin Bloom and Timothy Gerking to fill Jackson County Circuit Court vacancies left by the retirement of judges Mark Schiveley and Raymond White.

Bloom, best known for representing Jackson and Josephine county governments in state and federal cases, will take the gavel from Schiveley. Gerking, who has served as counsel for four Southern Oregon school districts, will fill White's vacant seat.

"The citizens of Jackson County and the state of Oregon will benefit greatly from two such highly qualified individuals leaving private practice to dedicate their careers to public service as trial court judges," Kulongoski said in a statement Monday.

The judge appointees were selected out of a pool of 20 candidates and underwent interviews by the governor's legal counsel and the governor, said Anna Richter Taylor, a spokeswoman in the governor's office.

Bloom, 44, is a partner at the Medford law firm of Hornecker, Cowling, Hassen & Heysell, where he has practiced civil litigation since 1993 with a focus on professional negligence defense. He has represented multiple municipalities, primarily Jackson and Josephine counties, in state and federal court.

Gerking, 61, is a partner with the law firm of Brophy, Schmor, Gerking, Brophy, Paradis & Maddox in Medford. Gerking began his practice in 1974 in Arizona and then in Oregon in 1979. He has represented insurance companies and is regular counsel for four public school districts, including Southern Oregon's largest, Medford. He serves as the statewide co-chairman for the Campaign for Equal Justice.

The two judges are expected to be sworn in early next year.

— Paris Achen