Common Cause Oregon Commends Redistricting Process and Historic Bipartisan Agreement

For immediate release: June 9, 2011

For questions contact: Janice Thompson at 503-283-1922

Common Cause Oregon Commends Redistricting Process and Historic Bipartisan Agreement

Common Cause Oregon commends the hard work and cooperative spirit of the legislative redistricting committees. Kudos go to staff for great work on handling the logistics of providing extensive opportunities for public input.

“Informational hearings across the state, hearings on draft maps, and yet another hearing on the consensus proposal provided meaningful opportunities for public input that far surpasses past legislative redistricting efforts,” said Janice Thompson, Executive Director of Common Cause Oregon. “This level of public input sets the bar for redistricting in 2021.”

“It isn’t possible to draw one map that will keep everybody happy because redistricting requires balancing many different factors,” said Thompson. “Redistricting is a political process but the bipartisan committee showed to Oregonians that thoughtful compromise is possible.”

“This historic agreement also addressed our group’s concern for an open and fair process that considered the growing diversity of Oregon and strived to avoid partisanship” said Thompson.

Review of race percentages in the consensus plan released this morning indicates a majority-minority district, HD 22 with 51 percent Latino population. There are also two minority-opportunity districts, HD 29 and 57, with Latino population percentages of 34.5 and 31.3, respectively. Testimony regarding North and Northeast Portland also increased the percentage of Black residents in HD 43. Testimony about HD 33 in regard to the interest of Asian Pacific Islanders was also heard, though that group’s goal regarding HD 48 was not met.

“Redistricting is a tough job because it is so challenging to meet all the concerns raised during hearings,” said Thompson. “It seems clear that the 2011 bipartisan redistricting committee discussed all the concerns even if not everybody is pleased with every aspect of the final map.”

The redistricting bill, SB 989, must still pass the House and Senate. All indications are that it will be signed by Governor Kitzhaber. Legal challenges can be made to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Agreement has not been reached on congressional redistricting and drawing those new lines goes to federal court.