Gov. Kate Brown in her office at the Oregon State Capitol on Feb. 3 in Salem.

Gov. Kate Brown will commute the death sentences of 17 people to life sentences without parole, her office announced Tuesday afternoon.

No one has been executed in the state since 1997. The governor’s order goes into effect Wednesday.

After taking office in 2015, Brown continued then Gov. John Kitzhaber’s 2011 moratorium on executions. Brown signed a law in 2019 that restricts the use of the death penalty.

The state has had the death penalty in place since 1984 – capital punishment was banned in 1962 – but it didn’t use it until Douglas Wright was executed by lethal injection in 1996. Harry Moore died by lethal injection in May 1997. Both of those men waved their appeals.

The order comes as Brown is set to end her term as governor in January.



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