Top Oregon Democrats and the state treasurer on Thursday called on Kitzhaber to resign, as had the state's flagship newspaper. Kitzhaber won reelection in November to an unprecedented fourth term as governor with the Oregonian newspaper's endorsement.
"It is deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved," Kitzhaber's statement said.
"But even more troubling – and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon – is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value."
Kitzhaber has faced mounting pressure to resign amid a criminal corruption probe launched last week by the state attorney general over a possible conflict of interest between the role of his fiancée as an unpaid adviser and her consulting contracts.
Kitzhaber's resignation will take effect at 10 a.m. on Feb. 18. Secretary of State Kate Brown will take up the role.