The latest and final redistricting map for the state legislature from Oregon's Secretary of State has been released. After holding 21 public hearings around the state, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury describes the plan as "legal and principled."
>The Oregon Secretary of State had presented his final plan to the state Supreme Court and this time the plan leaves Crook County undivided
The public hearings were not, he averred, "window dressing." in more than one situation, including Crook County, those hearings paid off. In Bradbury's draft plan, the western portion of Crook County was split off and attached to a district that included a major portion of Deschutes County. The final plan has Crook County in its entirety.
Actually the final plan makes Prineville the largest community in one of the largest districts in the state. District 55 includes all of Crook County, a sliver of Deschutes County and parts of Lake, Klamath and Jackson counties.
The final plan is based on "bipartisan redistricting principles used a decade ago by then Secretary of State Phil Keisling," Bradbury explained. The bipartisan principles include guidelines to fully incorporate cities within a single district when possible, minimize population deviation to the one percent standard affirmed by the Supreme Court and respected county boundaries, especially in rural areas.
"Of the 240 incorporated cities in Oregon, all but seven have a population of less than 57,023, the target size of a House district," Bradbury said. "In accordance with Keisling's bipartisan principles, none of the 233 cities with populations of less than 57,023 is divided in this plan."
As required by the state's Constitution, Bradbury will submit the plan to the Supreme Court. A timeline of Constitutional deadlines for challenges sets Oct. 15 as the deadline for the Supreme Court to dismiss any petitions if the plan meets legal requirements. The plan takes effect at that time unless any petitions are not dismissed. in that case, Bradbury has until Dec. 1 to correct the plan. The Supreme Court must review and make necessary corrections by Dec. 15 when the plan takes effect.
Bradbury said he is very confident that the plan will stand up to any potential court challenge. "This is a legal plan," Bradbury said and added, "this is a principled plan. This is a plan that responds to the input of the public, and I am confident that this is the best possible plan for Oregon."
The legal criteria for assigning House and Senate members to serve until the next statewide election is quite complex. Under Bradbury's plan, when adopted, Dist. 55 will be represented by Sen. Bev Clarno and Rep. Phil Barnhart. At the present time Clarno, a Republican, serves Senate Dist. 27 which encompasses Deschutes, Jefferson and portions of Klamath and Wasco counties.
Barnhart, a Democrat resides in Eugene and is the member of the state House representing Dist. 40, a portion of Lane County.
Bradbury's plan and the deadlines as well as the interim House and Senate assignments can be found on the Secretary of State's website, www.sos.statesos.state.or.us/redistrict/FinalRedistrictingPlan.htm