Meet the Board: Charles Luukinen

Charles Luukinen has spent a lifetime serving the community, both personally and professionally. For more than 20 years, he served Oregonians as a judge. He now works on behalf of public employee retirees as a member of the OPRI Board of Directors.

Luukinen began his judicial career in 1986 as a District Court Judge. He then went on to serve as a Circuit Court Judge until he retired in August of 2010. He served as a trial judge for all types of cases, including one of the first DNA murder cases in Oregon. He also served as a settlement judge, and continues to do private mediation and arbitration since his retirement.

“I always liked trials,” he said. “The best part of being a judge was being able to go to court every day and watch good lawyers work.”

After retiring, he joined the OPRI Board in January 2011. Luukinen strongly believes in the work of OPRI. “OPRI works for the benefit of retired public employees, most importantly the everyday public employees, like the court staff, law enforcement, and related government personnel, who I dealt with on a daily basis,” he said. “As a community, we owe it to those people who have committed their lives to the public good to follow through with the commitments made to them in exchange for that work.” 

He believes that OPRI’s greatest strength is the credibility that has been established with the membership, future retirees and the legislature.

“OPRI has always attempted to work for the best interests of its members and those with similar concerns, while being aware of the positions of others, to achieve the best results for its membership,” he said. “The OPRI Board is comprised of individuals from a wide range of public employment which helps to make us all aware of those diverse perspectives in arriving at a plan that works for the best interests of all public employees.” 

Outside of his professional career, Luukinen was a high school and small college basketball referee for 35 years. He served as the Salem Area High School Basketball Officials Association commissioner and assigner for 5 years and still works with various referee camps and training opportunities. He and his wife, Valeria, have also been involved with the HOOPLA 3×3 Basketball event each summer since it began 19 years ago.

Charles and Val Luukinen have been volunteers at Hoopla since it’s inception in 1999.

Luukinen was born and raised in Astoria. He and Valeria will celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary this October. They currently live in West Salem and have three children and four grandchildren. They continue to be involved in several local organizations and activities.

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