Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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October 5, 2009

The Attorney General fulfills campaign promise to restore Civil Rights program at the Oregon Department of Justice

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced his appointment of Portland lawyer Diane Schwartz Sykes to lead the new Oregon Department of Justice Civil Rights program.

"I'm committed to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all Oregonians," Attorney General Kroger said. "Diane Schwartz Sykes is a fearless courtroom attorney and a great addition to our team."

"I've dedicated my career to civil rights," Sykes added. "I intend to aggressively enforce the civil rights laws of this state."

As the first Managing Attorney of the Oregon Law Center in Portland, Sykes formed a civil legal services unit focused on employment, housing, consumer protection, individual rights, public benefits and predatory lending. The Oregon Law Center offers services to vulnerable individuals, such as immigrants, the disabled and the elderly.

Sykes also worked for Legal Aid Services of Oregon where she represented farm workers, domestic violence victims and other victims of discrimination. She has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts and worked with the Oregon Department of Justice on an Unlawful Trade Practices case against a notary public in Washington County.

In his race for attorney general, John Kroger announced that he intended to restore the Department of Justice Civil Rights program that had been eliminated during the recession of the 1980s. Despite the current economic downturn, Kroger gained legislative support for funding to restore the program.

Kroger credits then-Senator Margaret Carter, D-Portland, with securing money for the program.

Sykes graduated in 1992 from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology. She was a member of the Student Honor Society and the Psi Chi Honor Society. Sykes obtained her law degree from the University of Oregon in 1997. She is treasurer of the Oregon State Bar Diversity Section Executive Committee; a member of the Oregon State Bar Labor & Employment Section; and formerly served on the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Executive Committee and the VOZ Worker Rights Education Project Advisory Committee.

Sykes is fluent in English and Spanish.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.


Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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