Meet Lanee Danforth

     

I am a native Oregonian and spent most of my childhood in Central Oregon with my parents, two older brothers and grandmother.  I grew up on a farm where we raised pigs and participated in 4-H. I learned at a young age what it meant to have a hard work ethic.

I was a three-sport athlete playing volleyball, basketball and golf.  I went on to play collegiate golf at George Fox University.  I graduated from George Fox with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree.

For as long as I can remember I have been dedicated to public service. I decided to major in social work because of my passion for helping others. I learned at a very young age what it meant to serve not only the people closest to me, but also my community.  My grandma was diagnosed wtih polio when she was 16 and became paralyzed from the waist down.  I only ever knew her in a wheelchair.  She lived with me and my family and I spent nearly every day happily helping her.  In fact – it didn’t seem like help – it was just a normal part of my existence and one that I enjoyed.  My grandma had every reason in the world to complain but she never did.  She was an incredibly smart, gifted, funny, kind and independent woman.  I watched her give back to others and serve her community and her family despite her own struggles.  She set an amazing example for me that no matter what we are facing in our lives and no matter what our struggles may be, we all have something to give. 

It was through my work as a victim advocate in the Washington County DA’s Office that I decided to go to law school to become a prosecutor.  I had assisted hundreds of crime victims on a variety of cases from serious child sexual abuse cases to minor thefts from local businesses.  My role was to help crime victims nagivate through the very daunting criminal justice system and make sure their rights were being upheld and enforced.  While I loved my work as an advocate, I felt that my ability to help crime victims would be better served as a prosecutor. 

I graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School with a J.D. and certificate in criminal law.  I was one of the first lawyers in Oregon to take and pass the bar examination before graduating law school. I worked nearly full time in the Washington County DA’s Office during school and I sucecssfully tried 7 jury trials on my own before graduating.  I was involved in several activities including moot court negotiations.  I was the regional negotiation champion and went on to compete internationally in Canda.  District Attorneys have to be skilled in the art of negotiation, whether it is negotiating contracts, salaries, cases, etc., it’s a skill that is used weekly if not daily. 

My first job as a Deputy District Attorney was in the Coos County DA’s Office.  I had opportunities to work in larger counties, however, I wanted to live and work in a small community because I knew I would get more experience and I would get to know colleagues, police officers, judges and community members.  I had a felony caseload and was in charge of the victim/witness protection program, created written policies for the office, responded to crime scenes, attended autopies, attended several trainings and conducted somwhere between 20-30 trials.  I rose up the ranks very quickly in my office and loved the work I was doing.  Sadly, in 2017, my dad became ill and I moved to Las Vegas to be near my family.  Because I wasn’t licensed in Nevada, I needed to do something so I decided to go back to school and get my LL.M. in Gaming Law and Regulation.  Several of the smaller communities in Oregon, like Lincoln County, have casinos and I wanted to become well versed in the laws that impact gaming because it can be and often is such a lucrative part of the economy.

While I was attending school, I was also working in the Clark County DA’s Office in the juvenile dependency and delinquincy unit. I took and passed the Nevada bar exam.  After I passed the exam, my brother and his wife moved to Vegas to be near my parents.  A former colleague reached out to me and encouraged me / asked me to apply for a job in Lincoln County, so I did.  I bought a house in Newport right away and I  knew that Lincoln County felt like home. 

I have tried multiple cases since being in the Lincoln County DA’s Office.  In the past year alone I have successffully tried approximately 10 major violent felony trials.   I am the leader of the domestic violence team in the office and have trained and mentored other DDAs.  I am a member of the Domestic Violence Council,  Domestic Abuse Response Team and Sexual Assault Response Team.  I am the co-chair of the child abuse multidsciplinary team and the chair of the elder abuse multidisciplianry team.  I am on the Lincoln County Major Crime Team. I serve on the board of directions of the local nonprofit, “My Safe Place.” I have conducted several trainings for law enforcement and medical personnel regarding a variety of topics, some of which include, strangulation, domestic violence and the neurobiology of trauma.  I have written policies, procedures and protocols for the office.  There are many other things I have done during my career that will be discussed elsewhere on my website.  I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have for me.  

In my spare time I like to take my dogs to the beach, hike, camp, kayak and play golf.  I love to be outside.  I also like to attend sporting events (Go Blazers) and concerts.  

Below are some questions that I have frequently been asked after I filed to run for District Attorney.

Why did you move to Lincoln County?

I was working at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas when I was contacted and asked to apply for a job in Lincoln County as a Deputy District Attorney. I have always loved the Oregon coast and the beautiful beaches in Lincoln County. I decided to apply for the job and was ultimately hired to prosecute a variety of crimes with a focus on domestic violence cases.  It was a dream job in a dream location.  I bought a house in Newport and have made Lincoln County my home. 

Since being in Lincoln County, I have had other job opportunities arise in bigger counties and agencies.  However, this job is not a stepping stone to something bigger and better.  I have worked in bigger DA’s offices and can say without a doubt that Lincoln County is where I belong. I feel connected to Lincoln County and want to see it continue to thrive.

 Your car is always at the office, are you a workaholic?

I have definitely been accused of being a workaholic.  I do spend countless hours at the office working on various cases.  However, Mark Twain once said, “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life.”  I sincerely love my job.  I am grateful and humbled that I get to spend each day seeking the truth and pursuing justice. I devote a lot of time and attention to each case that comes across my desk because victims, defendants and the community deserve my best. There is no greater reward than knowing the hard work I put into a case had a positive impact on someone’s life.  The following is a recent quote from a domestic violence survivor:

“Lanee…all of this didn’t really hit me until you played the video in court and were saying how I was a survivor.  You said such nice things about my courage and strength, which I didn’t even know that I had.  You made me realize that I am stronger than what I thought and that if I could survive this that I can survive anything.”
- Cindra

When people ask me why my car is always at the office, it is because of people like Cindra.  Those are the moments that make my job worth the countless hours spent in the office.