[The death penalty] has been carried out just twice in last 49 years in Oregon. Both were during my first administration as Governor, one in 1996 and the other in 1997. I allowed those sentences to be carried out despite my personal opposition to the death penalty. I was torn between my personal convictions about the morality of capital punishment and my oath to uphold the Oregon constitution.
They were the most agonizing and difficult decisions I have made as Governor and I have revisited and questioned them over and over again during the past 14 years. I do not believe that those executions made us safer; and certainly they did not make us nobler as a society.
... I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am Governor.
-- Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announcing that no more executions will happen while he is in office, 22 November 2011