County tries to balance districts
Charter change would spread population growth among board seats
Leave it to Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers, a former accountant, to zero in on the unequal number of residents in each of the countys four commissioner districts.
Theres a chart to show 2010 numbers that show how out of whack they are, says Rogers. This isnt representational government.
Typically, Washington Countys districts are reapportioned every 10 years when the census is done but only if one district is more than 115 percent of the population of any other commissioners district.
In 2010, for example, Commissioner Bob Terrys District 4 had 8,858 more people than District 1, about a 7 percent difference. But since it didnt hit the variance trigger, no changes were made.
Times have changed.
Rogers and the other commissioners took a look at the issue and decided it was time for the voters to weigh in. Washington County voters will get a chance to vote on Measure 34-222, an amendment to Section 84 of the Washington County charter, in Novembers general election.
What does it do?
For one, it acknowledges the population growth in Washington County. The growth isnt equal, with extraordinary growth in areas such as North Bethany, South Hillsboro and Cooper Mountain.
The 15 percent variance allowed by the charter isnt comparable to other counties.
In 2010, the countys population was 529,710. By 2013, it jumped to 554,996.
Rogers notes, Were going to have pretty good growth in the near future. Were adding 7,000 to 10,000 new residents every year.
County staffers looked into the variances allowed in other comparable counties and found the 115 percent was quite high.
Measure 34-222 would lower the trigger for reapportionment to 105 percent instead of the current 115 percent. It would also lower the maximum population allowed between commissioner districts after reapportionment to 103 percent.
If the charter amendment is approved by voters, how would the lines be redrawn? We havent talked about how to do it, says Rogers.
But the revised charter would take effect Jan. 1, 2015, and 90 days would be allowed to make the changes five years earlier than originally planned.Add a comment