The office of sheriff has been one of the most important county functions since the selection of the first one in Oregon by the early settlers in 1841. Originally, the Provisional Legislature appointed the sheriff, but since 1846 the office has been elective. The territorial government provided for a sheriff and under the state constitution the sheriff was described as the conservator of the peace in counties.

In 1843 the provisional government designated the sheriff to serve as tax collector. The sheriff collected regular county taxes and other assessments of municipal corporations. He sent the taxes collected to the treasurer, kept records of delinquent tax rolls, instituted foreclosure procedures for real property when taxes were delinquent over 3 years, and sold land acquired for taxes. The tax collection function has been transferred from the sheriff to the tax collector, treasurer, or assessor in Oregon counties.

The sheriff, elected every 4 years, conducts criminal investigations and detects and apprehends law violators. The office is also charged with patrolling and maintaining the security of county roads, private homes and businesses. Other duties include performing search and rescue missions; enforcing marine law; transporting and providing for the security of state and county prisoners while appearing in court; processing and serving civil and criminal documents; operating the county detention facility; housing city, county, state, and federal prisoners; animal control; and enforcing nuisance abatement.

April 1845 to November 1846

December 1846 to 1847

1847 to September 1848

1850 to July 1851

July to September 1851

September 1851 to 1852

1852 to 1853

1853 to 1855

1855 to 1856

1856 to 1859

1859 to 1868

1868 to 1870

1870 to 1872

1872 to 1880

1880 to 1884

1884 to 1888

1888 to 1894

1894 to 1898

July 1898 to December 1898

1899 to 1906

1906 to 1911

1911 to 1919

1919 to 1923

1923 to 1933

1933 to 1937

1937 to September 1958

September 1958 to 1959

1959 to 1983

1983 to 1987

1987 through 2004

2005 through 2019

2020 to present

Thomas Owens

Joseph Caples

Obadiah Cephus Motley

David Egbert Pease

James Wilson

James Welch

Ira Hicks McKean

Thomas Hart

John Bartlett

Hiram Bliss Parker

John Montgomery

William Chance

Joseph Franklin Barrows

William H. Twilight

A.M. Twomby

William G. Ross

H.A. Smith

James W. Hare

Jack W. Williams

Thomas Linville

Merritt R. Pomeroy

Jack V. Burns

Ole Nelson

Harley J. Slusher

Jack V. Burns

Paul Kearney

Clem Ingalls

Carl Bondietti

Almond L. Eastman

John P. Raichl

Thomas Bergin

Matthew D. Phillips

Old Goonies Jail

The Old Clatsop County Jail served as a functioning jail from 1914 to 1976.

Old Sheriff Patrol Car

Old Sheriff Patrol Car.

Sheriff Office Sign

Sheriff's Office, Clatsop County Oregon Sign.