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Washington County commission boundaries shift with population growth

Some voters in Washington County are finding themselves in a different district represented by a different commissioner.

County officials have completed a redrawing of boundaries of the four commissioner districts, as required by a change that voters approved in the county charter in 2014. The change requires a redrawing of district boundaries if the population of one district is 5 percent greater than the others.

Washington County’s website has a tool to enable voters to determine which district they are in. It can be found here:

Philip Bransford, the county’s communications officer, said the next step is for elections officials to incorporate those changes in voter records.

Boundaries are based on population, not registered voters. Normally the boundaries are redrawn every 10 years after the federal census. The most recent redrawing took place in 2000. Population shifts after the 2010 census were not great enough under the language of the old charter to trigger an automatic redrawing of boundaries.

Washington County recorded a population of 529,710 in the 2010 census. According to the state’s official estimate as of July 1, 2014, the county’s population is 560,465. An official estimate for 2015 will be made final in December.

Commissioners set nine standards, most of them similar to those required for redrawing of state legislative districts, to guide the county staff and the Population Research Center at Portland State University. Five proposals were developed, and a sixth emerged after comments from the commissioners and the public.

The new district boundaries took effect Sept. 17. They will affect the election of commissioners in Districts 1 and 3 in 2016. Incumbents in those districts are Dick Schouten and Roy Rogers.

The new boundaries will be in effect until after the 2020 census, when officials will determine whether they need to be redrawn. Future adjustments, under the 2014 charter change, must ensure that none of the four districts has a population greater than 3 percent of the others.

Washington County has a five-member governing board, but its chairman is elected countywide.

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