What will redistricting look like in Wilsonville?
Maps presented by the Oregon state Legislature show potentially significant changes to the city of Wilsonville's electoral makeup.
According to proposals, much of the city would move to the new Congressional District 6 — meaning it could have a new representative — and Charbonneau would join the rest of Wilsonville in state House District 26 — which is represented by Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville. Charbonneau is currently represented by House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby.
However, proposals have yet to be finalized and these maps could be completely wiped away in favor of new ones. This is because the task of redistricting — which coincides with the census every ten years — may fall on Secretary of State Shemia Fagan's desk if Democrats and Republican legislators cannot agree on a proposal. Fagan's proposal could also be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.
"There's indication that (the) Senate and House committee will be deadlocked and not agree on a final map," Public Affairs Director Mark Ottenad told Wilsonville City Council during a meeting Thursday, Sept. 9.
Congressional proposals differ in terms of how cities would be represented, and the Wilsonville government plans to testify in front of the Legislature to express its preferences.
During the meeting, council indicated a preference for proposals that would have Wilsonville in the same Senate district as Tigard and Sherwood, and the same congressional district as West Linn. The alternative congressional plan would slot Wilsonville in a different district than West Linn but the same as Tualatin and Sherwood. The city's preferred plan was proposed by Republicans — the minority party at the Legislature.
The city hopes Wilsonville will be in the same districts as communities with which it has existing relationships and goals. The city shares a school district with West Linn, an industrial development area with Tualatin and a water treatment plant with Sherwood.
"When they stuck us before with Gaston and Keiser (in the current Senate district) and we're like 'Where are they? I haven't been to Gaston,' that makes it tough to develop a cohesive community of interest like we could with West Linn Sherwood or Tualatin because we have a lot of engagement with those communities," City Councilor Charlotte Lehan said at the meeting.
The council also preferred a House and Senate Plan that would maintain the relative status quo. However, the city's future neighborhoods in Frog Pond East and South were omitted from this plan.
"We would request in testimony if we choose plan A that Frog Pond East and South would be added to the (Wilsonville district's) boundary. Given there is very little population, this is a request that could be easily accommodated," Ottenad said.
During a testimony period for Congressional District 5, West Linn resident Aeric Estep expressed unhappiness with Wilsonville and West Linn, which share a school district, not merging into the same House and Senate districts.
"Rather than encompassing the entirety of our West Linn-Wilsonville School District to make the majority of representative District 37, our school district was bifurcated and portions of another county were encapsulated," he said. "This is not how the people are organized. We live and move and breathe within our school district."
As for Congressional districts, one proposal has the city almost entirely within the new sixth district while another more substantially fragments the city between the sixth and first district. Parts of north Wilsonville and the Basalt Creek industrial area would be in district 1 under one proposal, which is the case in the existing maps. The City Council didn't necessarily see that as a downside, as having access to multiple congressional representatives can prove beneficial.
"I'm more interested in which communities we are tied with, than that we don't get split. I think there are some types of advantages to having that extra legislator," Lehan said.
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