Salem ethics on parade

Oregon's "toxic" state health department is living up to its reputation in one Washington County court case, in which the judge has reportedly caught an agency official lying under oath, not once but twice.

The latest dustup stems from the Oregon Health Authority’s possession of 178 boxes of files from an outside contractor providing probation-type oversight of people in court-mandated diversion programs or on court-ordered supervision as part of impaired-driving cases.... 

The rolling disputes broadly deal with the court’s oversight of people convicted of impaired driving and sent to diversion programs, where they may be referred to substance abuse treatment. The health authority licenses and sets standards for treatment programs....

[Washington County Circuit Judge Brandon] Thompson’s latest order relates to the health authority’s handling of nearly 200 Washington County diversion files after the outside contractor that manages diversion changed owners. The files track defendants’ progress and compliance with court-ordered diversion.

Thompson’s order describes the authority in 2021 obtaining the files from a company that facilitates diversion programs, then failing to give them back. The order says the health agency lacks the legal authority to access and possess the records.

In his order, the judge zeroed in again on the testimony of Marisha Elkins during a July 14 hearing. Elkins previously worked as the health authority’s driving-under-the influence-of-intoxicants coordinator and now holds the position of crisis systems strategist for the agency.

Thompson accused Elkins of lying under oath during an earlier hearing and in his latest ruling reached a similar conclusion, writing that “Ms. Elkins came into this court for a second time and lied under oath.”

Over the summer, Elkins testified about how the agency came to possess the files; Thompson made clear in his order that the health authority should never have had the files to begin with.

“This court finds it troubling that a second hearing and a second opinion are necessary on this matter,” Thompson wrote. “... (T)his the second opinion this court has written ruling that OHA is violating the law and that Ms. Elkins lied under oath.”

The O's reporting here is not the clearest, and earlier stories on the court case are trapped behind the Paywall of Pity, here and here. But the judge's findings about the OHA official, Marisha Elkins (pictured), sure are eye-popping. She's been transferred to a different job in the health agency. But she's lucky she's not having her mugshot taken.


  1. I bet she has a friend, higher up in the bureaucracy, that will “bail” her out.

  2. She looks as honest as the day is long...

  3. doesn’t break all paywalls, but it does the O’s.


    2. Elkins...seems like a familiar name in the Portland history of rackets and corruption...


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