Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown announced today that she will appoint Brett A. Pruess to the Fifteenth Judicial District Circuit Court, covering Coos and Curry Counties. Mr. Pruess will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Paula M. Bechtold. The appointment is effective immediately.
“Brett Pruess has dedicated his legal career to providing representation to low-income members of the South Coast community,” Governor Brown said. “As a judge, he will ensure that everyone who enters his courtroom, no matter how disempowered, gets a fair shake.”
Mr. Pruess has worked at the Oregon Law Center in Coos Bay, advocating for low-income Oregonians, since 2010. He rose to managing attorney there. His practice at the Oregon Law Center includes family law, civil rights, and landlord-tenant disputes. Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Pruess worked as a backcountry crew leader in Yellowstone National Park and served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia. He attended law school at the University of Wisconsin and college at Montana State University–Bozeman.
Mr. Pruess was a founding board member of the Coos Bay Chapter of Surfrider, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves, and beaches. He serves as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon and the Lighthouse School, a public charter school. He also serves as a member of the Civil Justice Initiative Task Force and the Coos Hispanic Leadership Committee.
This is Governor Brown's second appointment to the bench in Coos and Curry Counties in recent weeks. She earlier appointed Andrew E. Combs to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard L. Barron.