The Honorable Darleen Ortega has served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 2003 and is the first woman of color and the only Latina to serve as an appellate judge in Oregon.
Before becoming a judge, she practiced law for 14 years, focusing her practice on all types of civil litigation at the trial and appellate levels. In her time on the bench, she has distinguished herself as a court leader on issues of juvenile dependency and as a student of the structural inequities that challenge the ideals the legal system seeks to uphold.
Judge Ortega is a frequent speaker on topics related to equity, diversity and inclusion, privilege, and equipping women and people of color to succeed in the law. She spends hours each week with law students and new lawyers, especially those from marginalized communities, helping them to make sense of the legal world. She also is an avid movie and theater critic; her reviews appear regularly in the Portland Observer and on her blog (www.opinionatedjudge.blogspot.com
). Her continuing engagement with issues affecting marginalized communities includes involvement with middle school and high school students in Portland; service on the board of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where she chairs the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee; co-founding OneGeorgeFox, an alumni organization that advocates for LGBTQ students at George Fox University; and past service on the board of Northwest Health Foundation, where she chaired the Equity Committee. Judge Ortega also serves as a resource to all three Oregon law schools on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. She also serves on the board of the Meyer Memorial Trust and is a co-chair of OWLS-IN (Oregon Women Lawyers Intersectionality Network).