Redistricting

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a new plan creating new congressional and legislative districts in the state.

The special Oregon Legislative special session to redraw the state’s political districts, which includes a new sixth U.S. House seat ended Tuesday and shortly after the session ended, Brown signed Senate Bill 881, which creates six new congressional districts, and Senate Bill 882, which creates Oregon’s new state legislative districts.

“The right to vote is sacred,” Gov. Brown said. “In Oregon, we know that every vote matters because every voice matters in our electoral process. I’d like to thank the Legislature for coming together, through adversity, to pass legislation for redistricting. We do not always all agree, but when we find common ground, we can work together to do what is best for Oregon. Redistricting is a process that necessarily involves compromise, and I appreciate the Legislature working to balance the various interests of all Oregonians.”

"These maps are fair, representative, meet the highest of legal standards and incorporate feedback we heard from Oregonians across the state," Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), co-chair of the House Committee on Redistricting said. "We followed the Census data to protect the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote."

“Each district in these bills was carefully designed to ensure compliance with Oregon’s redistricting standards and ensure that communities across Oregon will have strong and accurate representation in the Oregon Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives,” Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) said.

Republican reaction

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) said the partisan maps are a wake-up call for Oregonians.

“They know Democrats had to cheat to get these maps across the floor,” Drazan said. “Democrats in Oregon have passed rigged political maps that will guarantee super-sized majorities in the legislature and immediate control of more than 80 percent of Oregon’s congressional seats. They should be ashamed that they have gerrymandered Oregonians out of their shot at fair elections for the next decade. This is by no means over.”

Drazan said the congressional map adopted by the legislature is illegal, drawn for partisan benefit and will not survive legal challenge.

“Political gerrymandering in Oregon is illegal and drawing congressional lines to ensure five out of six seats for your party long-term is gerrymandering,” Drazan said. “Oregonians will only get the fair maps they deserve, free of partisan influence, by supporting an independent redistricting commission in the next election. Politicians should not be drawing their own political lines. If Oregonians believe we need fair redistricting, then they should overturn what resulted from this charade of a vote at the ballot box.”

Following the 2020 census, Oregon’s population growth qualified the state for the redistricting and sixth House seat. Monday was the deadline for the Oregon Legislature to compete the redistricting efforts.

A legislative committee was established, and public meetings were held to review the redistricting plans.

In a published interview in the St. Helens Chronicle in April, Katherine Morrison, legislative director for Sen. Taylor said Oregon will benefit from the redistricting.

“The benefits for Oregon include greater representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, so Oregonians’ voices are heard proportionately in the federal legislature,” Morrison said. “It also gives Oregon an additional vote in the electoral college, which will increase Oregon’s influence in presidential elections. As our population has grown Oregon can expect to see a greater portion of federal dollars to support our students, our infrastructure and human services.”

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