Writings and observations

OR: The bi-part legislative plans

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The new bi-partisan state Senate plan/committee map

On the same day the Idaho redistricting committee was sworn in and got to work, the Oregon rdistricting legislative committees (working jointly) produced something many people had no more than half expected to see: An actual bipartisan plan, one for state House and one for state Senate districts.

(MIA: A congressional plan. And the guess here is that, what with the central seemingly irresolvable issue of dividing Multnomah County, it may go on missing, for a while if not permanently.)

Here’s how the legislators described their result in a release:

“This bipartisan agreement represents the first step towards approving a final legislative redistricting plan for the next decade,” said Representative Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro). “This is an excellent
example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together for the people of Oregon.”

The proposed map is based on hours of public testimony. It honors the statutory requirements to create districts of equal population, not divide communities of interest, and connect communities within districts by transportation links.

”This bipartisan proposal is the result of hours of testimony and work by both the House and Senate committees,” said Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D-NW Portland/Washington Co.). “We heard the public when they overwhelmingly encouraged us to reach a plan within the Legislature.”

The House and Senate Committees on Redistricting will take additional public testimony on the proposed bill, including proposed maps, later this week.

“We’ve managed to put many of our differences aside in what is typically a very partisan process,” said Representative Chris Garrett (D-Lake Oswego). “Reaching bipartisan agreement on this plan is a major achievement for this Legislature.”

“This is an accomplishment that Oregon can be proud of,” said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend). “A bipartisan redistricting map represents the legislature at its best, working together and finding common ground, even in the face of big obstacles. This is a fair and bipartisan plan that will give Oregonians quality representation over the next ten years.”

What jumped out most immediately: How similar many districts look to the districts now in place. The Senate districts particularly are so strikingly similar (at least other than some of the geographically-smaller metro districts) to those at present, that most people probably can reasonable assume they” just continue to be in the same-numbered district they’re in now. The House districts seem to vary a little more, but not by a lot.

The similarity is not total, of course, since numbers had to be adjusted for population shifts – the whole point of the exercise. Districts bulged and contracted here and there. But the appearance is that the new districts will resemble the current ones about as closely they could numerically can. Anyone hoping for a radical redraw is going to be disappointed; people who just want as little interruption to their current districts as possible may be happier.

Hearings on virtues and lack thereof are forthcoming – possibly this week.

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