Any talk of redistricting needs to focus on giving Central Oregon more coherent representation. Bend grew astronomically since 2010, but so did the surrounding areas.
Current legislative maps feature silly districts – the city of Sisters is in a Senate District (SD) that touches both the Washington and Nevada borders; La Pine is squeezed into one that includes Prineville… and the suburbs of Medford. Bend gets one House District (HD) – despite having the population for two – and is surrounded by a donut.
The green map featured here instead shows one way to ensure greater compactness and that distinct communities are represented together.
This uses 2018 American Community Survey population data and is only a quick sketch using GIS software. It doesn’t take into consideration all of the several legal requirements necessary for redistricting compliance, but it does quickly show that we have better options available.
That map shows hypothetical House Districts. Two HDs equal one SD.
The math gets tight and final population figures from the Census are likely to somewhat change where the lines would go, but Bend, La Pine, and Sisters can be included in one SD.
In this scenario, Redmond moves over to share an HD with Prineville – arguably giving red Oregon a tighter district with more clout and economic development potential. It also does away with the donut.
Bend can be split several different ways, but this one that mostly uses an east-west split and including South County with Bend’s eastside gives a potentially highly competitive district.
This is just a back of the napkin type sketch of what can be done with redistricting. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at key factors that will determine where they lines are actually drawn.