June 15, 2012

Michael Schrunk received the Citizen Involvement Committee's 5th Annual Sy Award at its annual celebration dinner on June 14th. Mr. Schrunk has been the District Attorney of Multnomah County for over 30 years, since first being elected in 1981. He is well-known and recognized locally and nationally for his consistent efforts to ensure justice for all people, regardless of their background or state in life. The Sy Award is given in honor of Sy Kornbrodt whose passion and voice on behalf of underserved and under-represented citizens in Multnomah County is legendary.

In his pursuit of justice for all, Mr. Schrunk has led many innovative initiatives. These have included creation of the Neighborhood DA Unit in 1990 which seeks to build closer working relationships among prosecutors, police and specific communities in order to improve local crime problems. Mr. Schrunk was an early proponent of specialized courts and championed the creation of several of them in Multnomah County, including the Drug Court (1991), Community Court (1998) and Mental Health Court (2008). He is also currently helping to spearhead the formation of a Veterans Court. These courts differ from traditional courts in that they focus on one type of offense or offender and involve social services agencies to address underlying issues using therapeutic and interdisciplinary treatments. Mr. Schrunk is the recipient of several national awards, including the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Service Award for Community Leadership.

CIC Chair Steven Joiner said, “[s]imilar to Sy, Mr. Schrunck has exhibited a lifelong commitment to increasing justice for all and addressing weaknesses underlying the criminal justice system. He is an excellent example of how one individual’s dedicated community service and attempts to improve the lives of others better our entire community.”

Mr. Schrunck stated he is honored to receive the award, and remembers Sy fondly from their work together on projects that affected underserved communities. Past Sy Award winners include citizen involvement activist Moshe Lenske, Multnomah County Office of Citizen Involvement Director Kathleen Todd, former Board President of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization Thach Nguyen, and assisted living innovator Dr. Keren Brown Wilson.