Rod Underhill has spent his professional career protecting the people of Multnomah County. A graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, he originally wanted to become an FBI agent but decided against it when he found out the FBI would tell him where he had to live. Rod wasn’t willing to risk parting with the Northwest.
Rod joined the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office as a certified law student in 1987. He served as a deputy prosecutor from 1988 to 2007 and as Chief Deputy from 2007 until he took the office of District Attorney on January 1, 2013.
Rod has prosecuted thousands of cases, and is best known for his tireless advocacy on behalf of domestic violence victims, child sexual abuse victims, combating gang violence and human trafficking and supporting crime victim’s rights. Throughout his career, he won major cases against some of Oregon’s most violent gang members, drug dealers and killers, including the killers of middle school student Melissa Bittler, YWCA employee Yolanda Panek and mother of four, Asia Bell.
He has won awards and commendations from the Portland Police Bureau, the Oregon Department of Public Safety and Standards and the Oregon Domestic Violence Council. In 2010, the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society honored Rod as one of Oregon’s distinguished trial attorneys. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber recognized Rod for his tireless work on Oregon House Bill 3194 which seeks to responsibly cut prison costs and control future growth while also reinvesting in prevention, re-entry and victims services.
Rod is dedicated to public service and community outreach and serves on the boards of local, state and national public safety and community-oriented organizations. His current service includes:
- Oregon Governor’s Re-entry Council (member)
- Oregon State Bar’s Bar-Press Broadcasters Council
- Oregon District Attorney’s Association (executive board)
- Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (executive board)
- Multnomah County’s Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (executive member and co-chair of the Youth and Gang Violence Subcommittee)
- Multnomah Bar Association Professionalism Committee (member)
- All Hands Raised Council (member)
- Avel Gordley Center For Healing Advisory Board
Rod is also a member of the American Bar Association, Oregon Bar Association, Multnomah Bar Association, Oregon Women Lawyers, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Oregon, Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, the Multnomah County Family Violence Coordinating Council, and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence.
Rod is married to Dayna Underhill, who is also a Portland lawyer. They have three children.