Proposed state redistricting maps released

Oregonians have a chance to have their say on how the state’s political boundaries are redrawn later this year.
The Oregon House and Senate Committees on Redistricting released proposed congressional and legislative maps Friday, Sept. 3.
The maps delineate new district boundaries for Oregon’s congressional and legislative districts.
The presented maps are not final and will be used by community members to provide input during 12 virtual public hearings that will be held Wednesday through Monday, Sept. 8-13.
“There has been an impressive amount of public engagement throughout the redistricting process thus far,” said Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), who chairs the state Senate Committee on Redistricting.
“We remain committed to fairness, transparency and following the law as we continue to hear from members of the community and finalize electoral maps.”
The location of boundaries affects political power. It can determine which party controls Congress and state and local governments across the country. Consequently, redistricting has a direct bearing on what matters a legislature chooses to tackle, and which to ignore.
Redistricting also can affect how a community is represented in its legislative bodies.
All the plans suggest big changes for Linn County.
Both proposals for Oregon’s congressional districts would take Linn County out of District 4, long represented by Peter DeFazio, and into either a Fifth District that would stretch west to the coast and north to the Columbia River (the Republicans’ proposal), or would combine  all of Linn with Marion and most of Clackamas counties in a much more compact district (the Democrats’ plan).
At the state Legislative House level, three different proposals include placing most of Linn County, with the exception of Albany, in a District 11 (Plan A), or combining it with southern Marion County on the north and extending to the border with Lane County to the south, again excluding Albany, in a District 14 (Plan B), or making Linn County largely a stand-alone District 7, with the exception of Albany (Plan C).
Proposals for the state Senate districts would put Linn County either in a largely stand-alone District 6 with the Coburg Hills area of north Lane County and excluding Albany (Plan A), placing it in a District 7 with Coburg Hills and the territory surrounding Springfield on the south, and running north to the Silver Falls area of Marion County with the western boundary excluding Albany (Plan B), or stretching between the north and south county lines east to I-5, with extensions to the west to include Halsey and the Millersberg and Jefferson areas, also named District 6 (Plan C).
The proposed maps were created in alignment with statutory criteria. The public is invited to testify and give the committees’ members feedback on the electoral lines.
“We’ve committed to an inclusive and accessible process,” said Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), co-chair of the House Committee on Redistricting. “Already we’ve heard a record amount of testimony at the beginning of the year following 10 public hearings and we look forward to hearing from the public again next week to ensure fair, representative maps.”
Once a decade, based on U.S. Census Data, states redraw electoral lines to reflect population shifts, and take into account changes in demographics to ensure fair representation in government. Due to a delay in Census data caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Supreme Court extended the deadline for completing the new maps to September 27.
As Oregon’s population growth outpaced other states, the state will receive an additional sixth Congressional seat in the U.S House of Representatives.
Thus, the committees will draw new lines for six Congressional Districts in addition to drawing lines for Oregon’s 30 State Senate and 60 State House Districts. District lines will be informed by 2020 Census Data and public testimony; those lines are required to be aligned with Oregon’s statutory criteria.
To see preliminary maps, which will be considered during the upcoming sessions, visit https://bit.ly/3ngV7Fe.
For more information on redistricting, to sign up to testify, or to access previous public hearings held by the committees, visit www.oregonlegislature.gov/redistricting.