He replaces Archbishop John G. Vlazny, who is retiring, said diocese spokesman Bud Bunce. Vlazny is at the canonical age of retirement of 75.
Sample, 52, was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to become the 11th Archbishop of Portland. His official installment will be April 2. He will head 124 parishes with more than 800 priests, brothers, church women and deacons.
Sample also becomes defacto superintendent of the largest school district in Oregon, with 40 grade schools and 10 high schools. He will oversee two higher education institutions and one seminary. The archbishop also has 10 hospitals in his domain.
Sample was born in Kalispell, Montana, and graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in metallurgical engineering in Michigan.
He then studied philosophy at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., then the Pontifical College Josephinum Seminary in Columbus to prepare for the priesthood. He was ordained on June 1, 1990 at Marquette diocese, according to its website.
He served in several parishes before moving to Rome from 1994 to 1996 to earn a Canon Law degree.
He was named bishop of the Marquette diocese in 2006, and at 45, was the youngest bishop in the U.S. at the time.