Tigard representative weighs in on redistricting efforts
The recently approved agreement by the Oregon Legislature to redraw state congressional and legislative district lines will significantly impact Oregon House District 35, a seat currently held by Democrat Dacia Grayber.
The new map creates an effectively new seat, House District 28, which will be split between Multnomah and Washington counties.
"I will no longer have Tigard but I will — assuming the voters retain me — I will have Southwest Portland and Raleigh Hills and Progress, up to Highway 26, so that would be the new district where I'd be the incumbent," Grayber said in an interview last week.
Grayber confirmed she plans to run for the new HD 28 seat.
"Obviously there's some emotion behind representing places we've represented so long, but I'm really heartened by the process. I feel like, as a legislator, I can't advocate any changes in the lines," said Grayber. "I need to be neutral on that, and I really take that seriously, but I'm grateful for all the input that folks in Tigard gave, and House District 35 gave. … I feel like that was taken into account, and I'm excited to see where we go from here."
She said she knows there were a lot of initial concerns from Tigard residents and officials when the maps originally came out, resulting in a lot of people that came out and testified, something she said was a very inclusive process.
A Sept. 12 letter signed by 22 people from Tigard, including members of the Tigard City Council and the Tigard-Tualatin School Board, urged members of the members of the legislative redistricting group to reconsider original plans for splitting up Tigard into five different districts. The letter stated that such a move was "unacceptable."
Grayber said all those comments were all taken into account, noting that initial concerns were that Tigard was not whole and now it is — excluding only the new River Terrace neighborhood, which will be in a district with Sherwood, King City and Wilsonville — under the approved maps.
Margaret Doherty, who formerly represented HD 35, said she is pleased with the way the redistricting maps ended up. She called the final maps "well-balanced." She added, however, that she will miss Grayber representing Tigard, saying her successor has done a great job in Salem.
Both Doherty and Grayber have endorsed Ben Bowman's candidacy for HD 35. The Tigard-Tualatin school board chair announced he will run for House on Monday, Oct. 4.
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider said he was pleased with the outcome of the redistricting because of the Tigard-based district, where he has endorsed Bowman's bid as well.
"As Tigard community leaders pointed out in our joint letter, it made no sense to have a community of 54,000-plus represented by four or five different state representatives," he said.
However, he did add that he's somewhat surprised that Washington County is broken up into different congressional districts. Whole under the current map, the new map splits Washington County, with most of Tigard in the new Sixth Congressional District. That district also includes Tualatin, Sherwood, Wilsonville, and parts of Beaverton and Lake Oswego, along with the Salem area and Yamhill and Polk counties in the mid-Willamette Valley.
"I am not concerned about it, per se, just not sure how it will work out given all the collaboration between Washington County cities on large projects and initiatives that frequently require federal support," Snider said.
So does Grayber anticipate any challenges for legislators like herself who won one election and represents a certain constituency and now has to win the trust of not only voters but possible donors in a new district?
Not really, she said, adding that she lives in Multnomah County in Portland city limits, right off of Southwest Garden Home Road.
"It's an area that I know, really, really well geographically, and I know lots of folks. So, I'm pretty fortunate that way," Grayber said.
Her children attend Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, formerly Woodrow Wilson High School.
While looking ahead, Grayber said she's looking forward to finishing her current term.
"I'm excited to keep serving and really I'm excited to finish strong for the current House District 35. You know, we still have a short session to go," she said.
Grayber said one of her priorities has been to see federal American Rescue Plan Act money benefit Just Compassion, a nonprofit group that aids homeless residents, reach that organization. Those so-called ARPA dollars, which are expected to come through in late October, are expected to be used to construct an additional facility next to the Just Compassion Resource Center building in Tigard.
A firefighter for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for nine years, Grayber is currently stationed at the North Plains station to avoid any seeming conflicts of interest in the cities she represents while in the Oregon House, she said.
Editor's note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly described the new House District 26. It includes Tigard's River Terrace neighborhood, Sherwood, King City and Wilsonville. The story has been corrected.
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