Inaugural Speech by Clerk Catherine McMullen

On January 18, 2023 Clerk Catherine McMullen was ceremonially sworn-in by Judge Wetzel in the board room at the Clackamas County Public Services Building in Oregon City along with five other recently elected officials. Photos, video and the text of the speech is provided below.

Clerk Catherine McMullen is sworn in and gives inaugural speech.

Text of Clerk McMullen’s Inaugural Speech:

Chair Smith, Board of County Commissioners, Honorable Judge Wetzel, fellow elected officials, county staff, and the voters and residents of Clackamas County, Standing here this evening as your elected County Clerk, I feel a great honor, immense joy, and critical responsibility to you the people of our county.

I gratefully acknowledge the Clackamas, Chinook Bands, Kalapuya, Kalamet, Molalla, Multnomah, Tualatin, Tumwater, Wasco and the many other tribes of the Willamette Valley and Western Oregon on whose ancestral homelands we gather. We recognize their accomplishments as the native stewards of these lands as well as the diverse and vibrant native communities that are an integral part of who we are today. Without a full representation of everyone’s experience we will never be able to imagine and develop a better future.

Tonight, we stand here in what is now Oregon City, the County seat, a county first created as the Clackamas District (one of four far-reaching Oregon Districts) in 1843, redesignated as a county soon after in 1845, well before Oregon became a state in 1859. At this time Oregon’s provisional government designated three key offices for local governance.

  • A Sheriff to keep the peace.
  • A Treasurer to keep the money.
  • And a County Clerk to keep and safeguard the public record. 

The County Clerk to this day acts as the official keeper of the County’s records, and ensures access to local government through conducting elections and managing public records.

Obviously now we have more elected offices. We have 11 elected officials that keep, protect, and serve at the pleasure of the voters. We have 16 incorporated cities, almost 100 special districts (think schools, libraries, parks, fire, water, and soil districts), and many unincorporated communities of distinct character and culture that make us who we are today.

To serve as your County Clerk and be a small part of this story of place and people from before Oregon’s statehood is a great honor. I am here to write only a page or two of the story, in service to the people of Clackamas County.

My family and I chose to make Oregon our home and to raise our children here in Clackamas County. We live in West Linn just on the other side of the river.  I have a rural upbringing, the oldest of three girls, daughter of small business-owners and a well-driller. We lived at the end of a dirt-road. It was the kind of childhood you take for granted until you leave home for the big city and only realize then that it was both unique and formative. Neither of my parents went to college, but they made sure each of their girls did. 

I have a BA from U.C. Davis, a first masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, and more recently an executive Masters in Public Administration from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.  I’ve served as an election administrator, mostly in Oregon, since 2015 after being a public librarian for more than a decade. As a librarian I helped people find information and resources to be successful in their lives. Success defined by that person, for themselves, their families, and their communities.  When I made the move from books to ballots, this same purpose of self-determination carried over into my role as an elections administrator and County Clerk.

As my ten-year old daughter says, “My job is to help people vote.” It really is that simple.

My job is to ensure that every eligible voter has easy access to the ballot each and every election.  And that each election is conducted accurately, transparently, and securely.  

I am committed to serving all residents and voters in our county.

My office oversees the Elections, Recording, and Records Management departments. The Clerk’s Office is nonpartisan and it will be a space where everyone has equal access to quality services and secure elections. If you have questions or want to learn more about what the clerk does; from elections to records management, real property recording to officiating weddings; I am here to listen and to serve.

As of tonight, I’ve been on the job for just over 100 hours and I say it is time for a status update. In this brief time I’ve begun to address our most pressing challenges head-first. 

  • I’ve hired a highly qualified and dedicated Elections Manager to bring stability and support to our hard-working Elections Team.
  • We’ve immediately moved forward on the March 14 Special Election for the City of West Linn and the May 16 Special District Election that is county-wide. 
  • We are addressing lingering issues from the 2022 elections and putting robust project management, proofing, and support in place.
  • Personally I’m building relationships with each of my 18 staff in 3 departments, as well as with stakeholders across the county and in our many jurisdictions. 

We are rebuilding public trust through demonstrated good and effective government.

We have work ahead of us. I have work ahead of me. But each of us in this room tonight and in this county has a part in upholding election integrity, strengthening democracy, and participating in local decision-making and governance.

I call on you to participate.

  • Register to vote. Update your registration when you move.
  • Vote. Vote in each and every election. Local elections are especially important.
  • Want to see a change? Consider running for office.  The first day of candidate filing for the May Special District Election is Feb. 6.  Remember, these are your community volunteers who have stepped up to serve on your school board, water district, or fire board.
  • Finally, find what works for you and Participate. Volunteer, be informed, and be an active part of your local government. Use your voice!

We are here for you and we are listening.  It is an honor to serve as your County Clerk. 

Thank you.

You Are Invited to Clerk McMullen’s Ceremonial Swearing In 

The ceremonial swearing in for Clackamas County elected officials is set for Wednesday, January 18 at 6:00 pm. It will be held in the Board of County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Rd. in Oregon City.

The ceremony will also air live on the county’s YouTube channelFacebook page, and television channel (Clackamas County Government Channel).

Clerk Catherine McMullen and the other five officials that were elected this last year will take the ceremonial oath of office. Those oaths will be given, and the event will be led, by the Honorable Michael C. Wetzel, Presiding Judge of Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Members of the public are invited to attend, but space is limited. Please RSVP via a web form at  We hope that you can be there. It took the hard work and persistence of all of us to make Catherine’s successful election a reality!

The work has just begun!  Clerk McMullen’s first day of work was Tuesday, January 3. In her first week she has begun working on the March 14 Special Election for West Linn City Council, planning for the May Special District Election (countywide), and begun to get to know her staff in the Elections, Recording, and Records & Archives departments. You can begin to learn about the role and responsibilities of the Clerk on the county website: Clackamas County Clerk. Clerk McMullen appreciates the warm welcome from staff across the County!

Clackamas County General Election Results Certified December 5


Contact: Jaime Mathis 503-708-3249

Clackamas County General Election Results Certified December 5

West Linn, OR.– On December 5, the County Clerk certified November 8 General Election results to the Oregon Secretary of State. You can view the official final results online on the Clackamas County Elections website

Catherine McMullen handily won the race for Clerk, garnering 63.54% or 110,028 votes. Voter participation in the County Clerk contest was 55.17%, while overall turnout in Clackamas County was reported at 69.05% for this election.

Clerk-elect Catherine McMullen made the following statement, “I again want to thank my supporters, volunteers, family, and everyone who voted in this election and actively participated in our democracy. I look forward to taking office in January. Voters can count on my leadership to deliver timely, transparent, accessible, and accurate elections.”

Catherine has served as an election administrator since 2015, and lives in West Linn with her family. She will begin her service to voters as the new County Clerk on January 3, 2023. A ceremonial swearing in will be held in early January and the public is welcome to attend.

Media Coverage of Catherine’s Decisive Win

West Linn Tidings – ‘It’s not a job; it’s a purpose.’ McMullen eager for Clackamas clerk role

“The community saw change needed to happen and saw in me someone who can put that into place and can turn things around and make sure our elections here in Clackamas County are top-notch,” she [Catherine] said.

OPB – Clackamas County voters elect new clerk following major ballot gaffes

“I want to work hard with the public on restoring trust to our elections here in Clackamas County,” McMullen said.

The clerk’s position comes with a $112,000 annual salary. It involves managing elections as well as public records, including marriage licenses. The clerk can also officiate weddings, but Hall stopped providing this service in 2014 when same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon. McMullen said she’s bringing this service back.

“Making sure that every resident in Clackamas County feels welcome and gets the services from their own government is critical,” McMullen said.

Oregonian – Clackamas County voters elect Catherine McMullen as clerk, ousting Sherry Hall after May election debacle

During her campaign, McMullen pitched herself as the right candidate to replace Hall. She has worked in elections since 2015 and is currently a campaign finance specialist in the Multnomah County Elections Division. After her win Tuesday, McMullen promised that her office will be a nonpartisan space where voters and residents will have “equal access to quality services and secure elections.”

“Our people-powered campaign has worked incredibly hard to enact needed change to our county clerk’s office,” McMullen said in a statement. “Your support will allow me to bring timely, accurate, and transparent elections to our county, and I am both humbled and thrilled that we have prevailed.”

Oregon City News – Catherine McMullen defeats Sherry Hall in clerk race

McMullen told Pamplin Media Group she was pleased with both the initial returns as well as the undervote for the clerk race, saying it appeared more people had voted in the clerk race than in years past. Initial results showed about 16,000 undervotes in the Clackamas County clerk race.

“We are really pleased. I was telling my supporters we’ve had 499 days of a fantastic campaign. Elections need to be better here where we live and I have the knowledge and expertise to help do that,” McMullen said. “There’s plenty of work still to be done here in Clackamas County.”

Willamette Week – Clackamas County Clerk Challenger Says She Will Resume Marriages, Including Same-Sex Ones, if Lead Holds

Catherine McMullen says she will resume civil marriage ceremonies at the Clackamas County Clerk’s Office if her lead in yesterday’s election holds and she becomes the new clerk.

Sherry Hall, who holds the office now, stopped conducting civil ceremonies in 2014 after Oregon legalized gay marriage.

“I will officiate weddings for all couples,” McMullen said in an interview.

The Story: KGW – Video: Clackamas clerk who oversaw elections fraught with errors loses her re-election

Canby First – County Clerk Ousted, Davis Leads in Early Canby City Council Returns

Retiring Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis was the leading vote-getter in the seven-way race for three seats on the Canby City Council, and longtime Clerk Sherry Hall appeared to have been decisively ousted after overseeing one of the worst election debacles in state history in the May primary in initial returns Tuesday night.

Catherine McMullen Wins Contest for Clackamas County Clerk


Contact: Jaime Mathis 503-708-3249

Catherine McMullen Wins Contest for Clackamas County Clerk 

West Linn, OR– In a rout of the incumbent, Sherry Hall, Catherine McMullen is set to become Clackamas County’s newest Clerk, as initial results from the General Election came in last night. 

McMullen celebrated with supporters and volunteers after initial election results rolled in just after 8:00 pm. “Our people-powered campaign has worked incredibly hard to enact needed change to our county clerk’s office. Your support will allow me to bring timely, accurate, and transparent elections to our county, and I am both humbled and thrilled that we have prevailed. A huge thank you to voters, my family, staff, and volunteers for their investment in our local elections and in local government –I am ready to hit the ground running in January.”

On the campaign trail for more than a year, Catherine McMullen spent hundreds of hours talking with voters, attending events, and listening to diverse communities throughout Clackamas County during her run for County Clerk.

She stated that her commitment to serve all residents and voters of Clackamas County is stronger than ever. “My office is nonpartisan and it will be a space where all voters and residents have equal access to quality services and secure elections. If you have questions or want to learn more about what the clerk does; from elections to records management, real property to officiating weddings; I am here to listen and to serve.

We have work ahead of us. I have work ahead of me. But we all have a part in upholding election integrity, strengthening democracy, and opening wide the gates to participation in local decision-making and access to government services.”

Catherine McMullen can be reached at

This information is available on the website in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.

Catherine McMullen’s Statement to supporters on Election Night

As the ballots are counted and will continue to be counted for many days, until certification December 5, I want to acknowledge Clerk Hall and her staff; and the dedicated election workers across the state ensuring that our votes and our voices count, even as we celebrate tonight.

Thank you to my supporters, volunteers, and family.

Stats –

  • This is the 499th day of the campaign.
  • We’ve knocked on 8,000 doors as Team Catherine and with the help of other candidates and unions; 8,000 more were likely knocked on our behalf.
  • We’ve made 1,600 phone call attempts and Next Up staff doubled that.
  • We’ve raised more than $162,000 from more than 650 individual contributors. Our average individual contribution was just over $75.
  • We sent out two mailers to 111,000 and then 75,000 voters respectively. And posted 10,000 handwritten postcards.
  • We had 25 Letters to the Editor published, four OpEds written, and numerous articles on this contest. We have raised awareness of the County Clerk’s office and the importance of local election officials to new heights.
  • We’ve done four interviews, marched in three parades, and took part in dozens of community events across the county.
  • We had so many humbling endorsements from former Governor Barbara Roberts, former SOS Phil Keisling, state representatives, seven current and former mayors, and citizens across Clackamas County from Cassie Wilson in Boring to Charlie and Sheryl Gingerich in Aurora, Corey Hester in Milwaukie to Connie Cramer in Sandy.  

I want to thank the 100s of volunteers who wrote postcards, knocked on doors, and made phone calls. We have a volunteer Treasurer, a volunteer Field Organizer, a volunteer Financial Advisor, a volunteer Volunteer Activator. We have one tireless Staffer.  I want to thank my spouse Michael who took good care of me and the family this last year. I want to thank my son who braved the cold and the doors with me, and my daughter who has always known without doubt that her Mama was a winner.

We’ve helped citizens vote, candidates run for office, and Clackamas residents and community have a VOICE. 

Right now we are looking at 95,000 voters who made a choice for County Clerk and 66% chose new leadership. There are many votes still to be tabulated. Every vote will be counted. Every voice will be heard.

We have work ahead of us.  I have work ahead of me. But we all have a part in upholding election integrity, strengthening democracy, and opening wide the gates to participation in local decision-making and access to government services. We all have a part.

As your next County Clerk I will:

Protect voting rights and ballot access for all eligible voters.

Ensure timely, transparent, and accurate elections.

Restore trust to Clackamas County elections.

Abolish racist language in covenants and deeds.

I will Officiate Weddings for ALL Couples.

We live in a beautiful and diverse county. Tonight I want to celebrate the path ahead of us, thank those who came before us, and prepare to work for those who will come after us.  Thank you Clackamas County voters for choosing me as your next County Clerk. 

Election Day is Today


Contact: Jaime Mathis, 503-708-3249

West Linn, OR.–Today, November 8, 2022 is General Election Day. Voters can turn their ballots in until 8:00 pm on Election Day at any Official Ballot Drop Site across the state. You can find your nearest site with the Oregon Drop Box Locator or consult the list of Official Ballot Drop Sites available in Clackamas County here. If you need to you can also mail them as long as they are postmarked on Election Day. 

This is a general election so you will be voting for offices from your Governor and Congressperson to your County Clerk. You can check that your ballot was received by visiting the Secretary of State’s website

Election results are typically posted both on the Secretary of State’s website and the Clackamas County Elections website shortly after 8:00 pm on Election Night. Election results are unofficial until they are certified on or before December 5. In a late breaking story Monday night, it was announced that the current Clackamas County Clerk will delay releasing significant election results until Wednesday, November 9 at 6:00 pm.

Catherine McMullen, candidate for Clackamas County Clerk and resident of Clackamas County had this advice, “I will be working with a lot of voters that are turning in their ballot today, and I want to make sure your vote is counted. If you are turning in your ballot on Election Day, a good practice is to use your nearest Official Ballot Drop Box or visually confirm your ballot has been postmarked by your postal worker on November 8 at the post office.”

The May Primary Election was marred in Clackamas County this year by mishandling and mis-management by Sherry Hall, the current clerk, resulting in dramatically delayed election results, increased costs, and loss of public trust. Members of the public who want to be election observers should contact their political party or the elections office to schedule a time to observe the process. 

Voters can learn more about Catherine McMullen, candidate for County Clerk and certified elections administrator at

This information is available on the website in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.

Vote this Weekend. Vote Across Your Ballot!


Contact: Jaime Mathis, 503-708-3249

West Linn, OR.– Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Voters are encouraged to vote this weekend and drop off their ballots either in a blue USPS postbox or at an Official Ballot Drop Box. It is especially important that voters mark and consider races across their entire ballot as offices for Clackamas County Clerk and commissioners, city Mayor and councilors are up for voters to decide. 

Clackamas County resident, experienced elections official, and candidate for County Clerk, Catherine McMullen issued the following statement, 

“Some of the elected offices that make the biggest impact on voters’ daily lives will be found further down your ballot. Many voters forget to vote across the whole ballot or don’t feel as prepared to vote for local races, but these races determine who gets to decide Clackamas County taxes, housing policy, provide marriage services, and conduct elections, to name just a few points of impact these offices make on voters and our communities.

I urge you to make an informed choice for County Clerk so that we can have the timely, transparent, and trusted elections all Clackamas County citizens deserve.”

You can find a list of Official Ballot Drop Sites in Clackamas County here. To find out more about Catherine McMullen’s campaign for County Clerk, visit

This information is available on the website in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.

Upholding Election Integrity Takes All of Us

This OpEd appeared in the “Clackamas Review” on October 27.

Fair and free elections are a fundamental building block of our democracy and a means to good governance at the local, state, and federal levels. From my experience as a long-time election administrator, upholding election integrity means three core standards; that
● every eligible voter has the resources they need to vote easily and without
● our elections are safe, secure, and are confusion and error free;
● and election results are timely, accurate, and trusted.

Upholding election integrity takes all of us: voters, candidates, and election officials working together and holding each other accountable.

Election integrity means that every eligible voter has the resources they need to vote easily and without hassle. In Oregon you are eligible to vote if you are 18 years old, a resident of Oregon, and a citizen of the United States. With few exceptions, you have a right and responsibility to vote in each and every election. As an election official it is my responsibility to make sure you register to vote and can vote, and that as a voter you can get assistance if you have a disability, speak a language other than English, or cannot read the ballot. If your signature didn’t match or you forgot to sign your ballot, I will contact you so that we can address the problem and count your vote.

Election integrity means that our elections are safe and secure. It means that directions, rules, and communication are clear. Oregon elections are safe and secure. With our proud history of Vote-by-Mail and all paper ballots we have a paper trail of every cast vote. Our voting equipment that tallies the vote is never connected to the internet, and is kept secure and apart from all other systems.

As an election official I have a responsibility to provide clear and accurate information about each election and make it accessible to all eligible voters. As a candidate for office I rely on facts and refrain from fear-mongering tactics. As voters we have a responsibility to investigate the information we read online, on social media, and receive in the mail. We look for who is the true source of the information and if it can be verified and trusted.

As a community we stand up to intimidation and harassment at the ballot box. If we see a voter being questioned, intimidated, or kept from voting we report that to our local election official and public safety partners. We agree that every eligible voter has a right to vote safely, securely, and confidentially.

Election integrity means that we have accurate, timely, and transparent results on Election Night and every day after until the election is certified. We can see every step of the process and results are accurate and trusted as the end result. As your election official I make sure we have the needed resources and staffing planned out to signature verify, process, and tally every ballot for each election. With my experience in project management and conducting elections during emergencies I can ensure that elections are conducted and accurate results are provided according to required
statutes, administrative rules, and public expectations.

As voters we can help elections officials by making a plan to vote: deciding when we will vote, and knowing where to return our voted ballot. We share only trusted information from election officials about election results and processes. We can also serve as election observers, watching the process to hold our elections officials and leaders accountable.

It takes each of us in our unique and important roles as voters, candidates, and elections officials to uphold election integrity and ensure free and fair elections.

If you haven’t turned in your ballot yet, you still have plenty of time. Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day. Your voted ballot must be returned to an Official Ballot Drop Site by 8PM or mailed with a valid postmark by November 8, 2022 – Election Day. I urge you to vote across your ballot and make choices for candidates, contests, and measures at all levels of government. Thank you for exercising your right to vote.

Catherine McMullen lives in West Linn with her family, is a certified election administrator and candidate for Clackamas County Clerk.

Two Weeks Until Election Day – Make Sure to Vote Across Your Whole Ballot


Contact: Jaime Mathis, 503-708-3249

West Linn.–OR.  Election Day for the general election falls on Tuesday, November 8, just two weeks from today. You should have received your ballot in the mail but if you have not, you can pick a replacement up at the Clackamas County Clerk’s office located at 1710 Red Soils Court, Suite 100 Oregon City, OR 97045 or call them and request a ballot be mailed to you at: 503-655-8510.

Clackamas County Clerk candidate and experienced election administrator, Catherine McMullen, encourages voters to be proactive about voting, reviewing resources, and creating a plan to return your ballot. “Know how and when you are going to vote, make sure you know where to drop off your ballot, and know how to track your ballot to ensure it is received.” 

Catherine speaks to voters at Willamette View community in Clackamas County.

Voters can return their voted ballots in the mail or use any Official Ballot Drop Site in the state. Find your nearest location with the Oregon Drop Box Locator from the Secretary of State. Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 8 or returned to an Official Ballot Drop Site before 8:00pm on Election Day.

You can learn more about the critical role of the County Clerk in a functioning democracy and Catherine’s candidacy at:

This information is available on the website in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.

Vote across the whole ballot including County Clerk.

Ballots Go Out in the Mail Today


Contact: Jaime Mathis, 503-708-3249

West Linn, OR.– Ballots for the November 8 General Election are being mailed to Clackamas County voters today. They should arrive within five business days and once voted can be returned to any Official Ballot Drop Box or simply placed in your mailbox to be collected by your mail carrier. 

Catherine McMullen, candidate for Clackamas County Clerk and certified elections administrator, encourages voters to check that their ballot has arrived, and once received create a plan to vote. “Creating that plan to vote, giving yourself time to ponder all of the issues and candidates and then vote across your whole ballot is a great practice. If you then turn in your ballot early, you will also have plenty of time to respond to any issues that might arise, like if you forget to sign your ballot return envelope or your signature does not match the signature on your voter registration record.”

Catherine McMullen stands next to the Official Ballot Drop Site at West Linn City Hall

If you have not received your ballot by October 26, you can request a replacement ballot at the Clackamas County Clerk’s office located at: 1710 Red Soils Court, Suite 100 Oregon City, OR 97045 or by calling 503-655-8510. Voted ballots must be postmarked and mailed or returned to an Official Ballot Drop Box by 8:00pm on Election Night, November 8.

You can learn more about Catherine’s election experience and campaign at:

This information is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.