Marion County Commissioners Make Selection to Fill Sheriff Vacancy

Posted on June 8, 2023

Salem, OR – Today, the Marion County Board of Commissioners selected Lieutenant Nicholas Hunter of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to fill the vacancy for Sheriff. Six applicants were interviewed in a special Board Session today that also included Christopher Baldridge, Director of Safety and Risk Management Services for Salem Keizer Public Schools, and Deputy Sheriff Chad Jones, Deputy Sheriff Chris Kennedy, Sergeant Donald Parise, and Deputy Sheriff Stacy Rejaian of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

Commissioner Colm Willis, Board Chair, said, “I appreciate Lt. Hunter’s valuable experience and his willingness to serve our community. We look forward to working with him to protect our community and ensure Marion County continues to be a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“Lt. Hunter voiced a strong desire to maintain stability, and also to trust his people in the transition from Sheriff Kast’s retirement, and I strongly believe that is what their office needs right now,” said Commissioner Kevin Cameron. “I also appreciate his recognition that the world is changing, and that we need to progressively change to serve the citizens of Marion County.”

Commissioner Danielle Bethell, in speaking to Lt. Hunter, said, “You said that before you can understand the solution, you need to understand the problem, and I will hold you accountable to that. This community is full of problems and full of solutions, but it requires a listening, thoughtful ear to seek those solutions. I look forward to working with you in that opportunity.”

Lt. Hunter will be officially appointed as Sheriff at the Commissioners’ June 26, 2023, Regular Board Session. A swearing-in ceremony will be held Friday, June 30, 2023, in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, in Salem. The public is welcome to attend.

Sheriff Joe Kast announced his retirement effective June 30, 2023. When a vacancy occurs in a county elected office, the Marion County Board of Commissioners appoints a replacement who will hold office until a new sheriff is chosen in the next general election.

For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email

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