Dial turns 65 this month and is ready to retire
Curry County District Attorney Everett Dial said he’s resigning at month’s end.
Dial said he had planned to serve out the final year of his term, but with his 65th birthday only days away has decided it’s time to retire and spend more time with family.
“My wife is from Central Oregon and has been wanting to move back for a long time,” Dial said. “We love the coast, but her family is in Central Oregon, so it’s time to move.”
The Pilot talked with Dial on Wednesday morning in his second-story office in Gold Beach. He has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean from inside the Curry County Circuit Courthouse, but since his desk faces away from the window, he rarely takes in that panoramic view.
“This is really a nice view,” Dial agreed, sounding as if this was the first time he’d noticed. “I have been very busy. But not for much longer. I’ll be a sleeping-in DA soon.”
Dial has been Curry County’s district attorney since his appointment in 2007 by then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski. He held the seat after winning the 2008 election, and was re-elected twice thereafter – in 2012 and 2016.
He mentioned his lunch-pail work ethic as a likely reason that voters continued to support him.
“I just come to work every day and do my job.”
Dial, who had been in court earlier on Wednesday morning, was a district attorney for much of his career. He gravitated toward it after interning at the Deschutes County DA’s office in the late-1980s.
“I could appear in court under student-appearance rules,” Dial said. “The DAs there would just hand me a case and say, ‘This is going to trial tomorrow, you do it.’ I had, like, seven trials in a row and I did okay - I got six out of seven convictions.”
Dial said he enjoys the office’s strategic thinking.
“In some sense, it’s like a puzzle, solving a puzzle. Reading the report, reading what happened. And then trying to figure out what applies legally.”
And he likes advocating for the victims.
“We represent the victims, and the defense attorney represents the defendant. They are trying to get them off. Maybe you sleep a little better at night when you are the prosecutor, I don’t know.”
During his 10-plus years as Curry County’s district attorney, there have been several memorable cases on his watch, said Dial.
One, a murder case up the Winchuck River, resulted in a manslaughter conviction after it went to trial. A 2018 attempted-murder case in Harbor ended with a plea. Then, there was the case of a man in Port Orford who was beaten with a baseball bat.
Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that she’ll fill Dial’s vacancy effective Jan. 31. She’ll do so by appointing his successor, as outlined by the Oregon Constitution.
Brown’s office is taking applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Applicants must submit a District Attorney Interest Form to be considered.
Note that the District Attorney Interest Form is not the same form that’s used for judicial vacancies. The District Attorney Interest Form is available online.
Applicants should mail or deliver the completed interest forms to Misha Isaak, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court St., NE #254, Salem, OR 97301-4047.
The forms must be received by 5 p.m. Jan. 22. Those emailed by 5 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely if the original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received.
Dial said that starting Feb. 1, Collin Benson will serve as interim DA until Brown appoints a permanent replacement.
He added that he was going to miss working with his colleagues in the courthouse. “I really have a wonderful staff and that makes it fun to go to work,” Dial said. “There are a lot of people that work here in the courthouse, and with the county, that I will miss.”
Any chance he’ll come out of retirement? “It’s possible,” said Dial with a chuckle. “Who knows, I could get bored.
“I suppose I could take up golf.”