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Lawmakers release first glimpse of Oregon's redrawn Congressional districts

The Oregon House and Senate redistricting committees released the first drafts of redrawn Congressional and state legislative districts on Friday, beginning a process that will change the state's political landscape.

Posted: Sep 3, 2021 12:03 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2021 12:13 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregonians got their first chance to glimpse the state's potential political landscape on Friday, as the state House and Senate Committees on Redistricting released their proposals for new Congressional and legislative districts ahead of a series of virtual public hearings on the topic.

Results from the 2020 US Census rewarded Oregon's population growth with a sixth US Congressional district. In addition to changes to the 30 Senate and 60 House districts at the state legislative level, those results necessitated a redrawing of the district boundaries.

While Oregon Democrats control both chamber of the state legislature and could have redrawn the districts almost unilaterally, Democratic leaders agreed to draw equally from both parties on the redistricting committees in exchange for assurances from Republicans that they would not block legislation.

Ordinarily the deadline for redistricting would have fallen on July 1, but with the Census delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers successfully pushed for a delay until September 27. Now, with the rough drafts produced, a series of 12 virtual public hearings will be held from September 8 through 13.

“There has been an impressive amount of public engagement throughout the redistricting process thus far,” said Senator Kathleen Taylor, chair of the 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.”

Under the two proposals from the redistricting committees, Oregon's 2nd Congressional District — which currently comprises all of eastern and most of southern and central Oregon, represented by US Rep. Cliff Bentz — will remain by far the largest district by landmass in the state. However, both proposals include significant changes to its borders brought on by the addition of a sixth district.

Under "Plan A," District 2 would gain the rest of Josephine and part of Douglas County, taking them from Rep. Peter DeFazio's District 4. But District 2 would lose Hood River, Jefferson, and part of Deschutes County to District 3, including the city of Bend.

Under "Plan B," District 2 would retain all of the north-central Oregon counties, but would lose Josephine and part of Jackson County — including Medford and Central Point. They would join District 4 instead.

The location of the new District 6 differs by proposal, but it appears roughly in the northwestern part of the state. In Plan A, it covers Polk, Yamhill, and parts of Marion, Clackamas, and Washington counties. In Plan B, it covers most of Clackamas and Marion counties.

In 2020, a group calling itself "People Not Politicians" championed a ballot measure that would have removed the redistricting process from lawmakers and put it in the hand of a bipartisan commission. The push ultimately faltered amid the pandemic after the Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling that would have given the group more time to gather signatures.

People Not Politicians, still lobbying against the current redistricting process, released a statement on Friday expressing wariness of the lawmakers' proposals.

“There is no amount of technical savvy or sophisticated mapping software that removes the inherent conflict of interest that exists when partisan legislators are given the benefit of drawing their own electoral lines—the fox is guarding the henhouse, '' said Norman Turrill, chair of People Not Politicians. “Oregon voters should be choosing their politicians, not the other way around.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 354681

Reported Deaths: 4235
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55528700
Washington38530317
Marion36621448
Clackamas29551307
Lane27511300
Jackson22911308
Deschutes20066125
Umatilla14401146
Linn12732127
Douglas12019243
Josephine9334196
Yamhill8645111
Klamath7898116
Polk729981
Malheur559576
Benton543531
Coos498094
Columbia378143
Jefferson370752
Union317348
Lincoln317238
Wasco286540
Crook283546
Clatsop243229
Baker201528
Tillamook195929
Hood River191637
Morrow184023
Curry179825
Harney112126
Grant99513
Lake91812
Wallowa68312
Gilliam1534
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4835022

Reported Deaths: 71032
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148065626473
Riverside3708005020
San Diego3656704178
San Bernardino3577115627
Orange3237885538
Sacramento1589272303
Kern1455891632
Fresno1455032073
Santa Clara1452251898
Alameda1204021391
San Joaquin1024051721
Ventura1008821166
Contra Costa997401004
Stanislaus858701326
Tulare79709958
San Francisco54299645
San Mateo54046622
Monterey50815583
Solano45958341
Santa Barbara45074522
Merced42144580
Sonoma40895402
Placer39222424
Imperial35906764
Kings32708322
San Luis Obispo29863332
Madera23761285
Butte23726268
Shasta23637349
Santa Cruz20962218
Yolo20275248
Marin17674244
El Dorado17123149
Sutter13873174
Napa12871100
Yuba1003382
Tehama9448108
Humboldt9195108
Nevada912990
Mendocino760087
Lassen754347
San Benito742772
Tuolumne685589
Lake6593104
Amador542964
Siskiyou447046
Glenn435233
Calaveras387280
Del Norte357642
Colusa303318
Inyo208040
Mono16673
Plumas16198
Mariposa132815
Trinity87211
Modoc6795
Unassigned2260
Sierra1840
Alpine1030
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