Redistricting shifts representation for Sandy, Estacada
Residents in the Sandy and Estacada areas will have new representatives in the Oregon Legislature as a result of the 2021 redistricting process.
On Monday, Sept. 27, the Oregon House and Senate adopted new congressional and legislative redistricting maps for Oregon with the passage of Senate Bill 881 and Senate Bill 882. Both measures have been signed by Gov. Kate Brown.
Redistricting is completed every ten years and involves redrawing the boundaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, or congressional, and the Oregon State Senate and House of Representatives, or legislative, districts. The process is based on changes in population.
Per the new maps, Estacada will move from Senate District 20 to Senate District 26 and from House District 39 to House District 52, and Sandy will move from House District 52 to House District 51. Senate 26 and House 52 now both include The Dalles.
Rep. Christine Drazan's district, which was previously numbered as House District 39, will now be House District 51.
The changes will take effect in early 2022.
While House 52 still encompasses the Mount Hood communities from Alder Creek to Government Camp and now parts of Boring and East Multnomah County, House 52 Rep. Anna Williams, D-Hood River, said she is "sad to lose Sandy."
"I have built some good relationships in Sandy, so there's some sense of loss there."
That said, Williams added: "I am excited about working with the community of The Dalles. I see great potential to engage more there."
Williams said some community members from Sandy did share testimony on the House floor during the redistricting process and express concerns about being drawn out of House 52.
"I was really excited to see how engaged people from our district were in the process," Williams explained. "Moving the lines, some people are going to feel left out, but I think the process was very fair."
In her time serving Sandy, Williams helped the city procure millions in state dollars to help the city explore green alternatives for its wastewater treatment plant project and fund other efforts.
Sandy City Manager Jordan Wheeler said "losing Anna Williams and the advocacy she's done for Sandy will be a big loss, but (Sandy City) Council seems excited about Rep. Drazan. We appreciate (Rep. Williams) representing Sandy's interests."
Williams assured that she plans "to continue to partner with whoever represents Sandy" to see these efforts through.
"We all knew going in that this would be gerrymandered," said Senate 26 Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River. "I think that even the Democrats realized that the districts they came up with were one-sided. I think that the courts would not have thought they were fair. Are (the districts) what I think they should be — fair by the numbers — no. But I think it's probably as good as it's going to get. It's still better than the first proposed map."
Thomsen stands to gain parts of rural Clackamas County into his district, including Estacada, and also The Dalles.
"I think that fits the district we live in better," Thomsen explained. "I lose a lot of mostly Damascus, Happy Valley and South Portland, but my district actually gets redder. All in all, I'm pleased with my district and still getting to represent Sandy. Whenever the lines are drawn, those within them are who I represent. I don't get to pick the line, but it's my job to represent the people within those lines."
Sen. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, described being redistricted out of Estacada as "a loss, both personally and politically." Prior to being appointed to his current seat in Senate District 20 upon Alan Olsen's retirement in January, Kennemer represented Estacada in House District 39 from 2009 to 2019.
"I have long standing relationships with people (in Estacada), and it's always been a great community," he said.
Additional changes to Senate District 20 include the loss of Canby. The district will gain areas in Oak Grove and Happy Valley. While it previously leaned republican, Kennemer said the district is now majority democrat.Â
Along with gaining Sandy, House District 39 will no longer encompass sections of Happy Valley and Damascus. Drazan noted that the district will still have a Republican majority.
Both Drazan and Kennemer said they would like to see the process move to an independent redistricting committee.
"By its nature, this devolves into a partisan process," Kennemer said
Drazan said the switch to an independent redistricting committee would likely need to be enacted by voters.
"If redistricting is reformed to serve Oregonians, it's going to be because Oregonians demanded it, not because the party in power gave up power," she said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sandy would be moving to House District 39. Pamplin Media regrets the error.
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