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Kitzhaber names Patridge Klamath County DA

Longtime Medford politician Rob Patridge will be Klamath County's next district attorney, filling the vacancy left by Ed Caleb in January.

Gov. John Kitzhaber announced the appointment of Patridge Friday.

"I'm honored the governor appreciates my talents," said Patridge, a 44-year-old Medford resident, who has a wife and two children.

Caleb's midterm retirement prompted the governor to appoint a successor to fill the remainder of the term.

Patridge said he received a call from the governor asking whether he would be interested in the job, which pays $91,000 annually plus a supplemental amount from the state.

"Rob has the skills and experience to bring communities together and serve the people of Klamath County well," Kitzhaber said. "He understands that the entire criminal justice system must work closely together to keep our communities safe and reduce victimization."

Patridge is a former Medford City Council member and state representative who worked as a deputy district attorney for three years in the 1990s.

After that, he was general counsel for Pacific Retirement Services, parent company of Rogue Valley Manor, and district director for Congressman Greg Walden.

He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Jackson County district attorney last year. Kitzhaber then appointed him to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Patridge ran unsuccessfully for district attorney in Jackson County in 2012, losing by an overwhelming margin to Beth Heckert. Both Heckert and Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe criticized Patridge for having little experience as a prosecutor and referring to him as a career politician. Hoppe came in a distant third in his DA bid.

After his defeat, Patridge didn't rule out the possibility of making another run for the DA job.

Patridge said his focus now will be his new job in Klamath Falls.

He will hold the temporary DA position for 18 months until the election in November 2014.

Patridge said he wouldn't rule out running in the race, saying he needs time to evaluate that possibility in time for the May 2014 primary.

In the short-term, Patridge plans to commute from Medford to Klamath Falls, likening it to the commute from Portland to Salem.

Patridge said he would continue to serve on the OLCC, but will no longer pursue the business consulting work he's involved with now.

He said he has made no plans yet to move to Klamath Falls.

"At this point, I'm just taking it day by day," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.