Representative Lindsay: We can produce a fair redistricting plan

by Rep. Shawn Lindsay

Every 10 years, the Oregon Legislature is charged with redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative boundaries. Many have described Oregon’s redistricting process as intensely political and partisan. In fact, 10 years ago the Legislature and governor failed to agree on a plan and, under the current system, allowed then-Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to draw gerrymandered districts.

The system hasn’t always worked, but I strongly believe the Legislature should fulfill its constitutional duty.

We must do better for the people of Oregon. As co-chair of the House Redistricting Committee, I’m optimistic the Legislature can pass a fair and bipartisan redistricting plan this session.

Oregon has changed dramatically since the last redistricting plan was adopted. The state has added more than 400,000 residents, with Washington and Deschutes counties experiencing explosive population growth.

During the same period, thousands have left Portland’s urban core and thousands more have left rural communities across the state. Due to this simultaneous growth and shift in population, the districts must be redrawn to ensure that every Oregonian is equally represented in Washington, D.C., and Salem. It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to achieve this goal.

State law gives the Legislature clear guidelines for legislative and congressional redistricting. Districts must be contiguous, be of equal population, be connected by transportation links and use existing geographic or political boundaries. Perhaps most importantly, districts must not divide communities of common interest. There is a strong case that the current plan, written by the secretary of state in 2001, clearly failed to meet these standards.

The current House and Senate district maps are cluttered with “fingers” and “peninsulas” that were, arguably, intended to carve out “safe” districts for one party or another. As the Legislature works to redraw the lines, we must be careful not to interpret the law to create districts that provide undue advantages to any political party, incumbent or potential future candidate. I believe we must recognize urban, suburban and rural areas as distinct communities. We must also emphasize economic ties that bind these distinct communities together.

For example, Oregonians in Northwest Portland and the Pearl District have far more in common than Oregonians in Hillsboro and Banks. Rural communities that depend on Oregon’s natural resources have far more in common than those living and working in suburban or urban areas.

The next redistricting plan must recognize these clear differences and establish new districts that, as a whole, reflect the demographic and economic diversity of our state.

Republicans are willing to put politics aside and help craft a bipartisan plan. I’m hopeful Democrats share our commitment, but we can’t do it alone. To accomplish a fair and bipartisan plan, Oregonians need to be involved throughout the process. We need Oregonians to share their ideas and concerns about their future representation.

Both the House and Senate redistricting committees have embarked on a tour across the state to capture citizen feedback on the next redistricting plan. From Portland to Ontario, Oregonians will have opportunities to participate. We will hold hearings in Beaverton and Portland on April 8. For more information on the redistricting process and our hearings, visit

Redistricting is one of the most important issues the Legislature will consider this year. The new legislative and congressional boundaries will strongly impact Oregon’s future. With strong bipartisanship and citizen participation, we can — and will –produce a fair plan to govern our state over the next 10 years.


Redistricting hearings across the state:


12PM-3PM MEDFORD – Rogue Community College & Southern Oregon Univ. Higher Ed Ctr, Multipurpose Room, 101 South Bartlett, Medford 97501
Simultaneous Participation by Video Conference in
ASHLAND: Southern Oregon University, Ed-Psy Building, Room, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland 97520
KLAMATH FALLS: Klamath County Library Video Conferencing Rm, 126 South Third St, Klamath Falls 97601
GRANTS PASS: Rogue Community College, Redwoods Campus Rm, Cotal 9B, 3345 Redwood Hwy, Grants Pass 97527

9:00-12:00PM COOS BAY – Southwestern Oregon Community College, Eden Hall, 1988 Newmark Ave, Coos Bay 97420
Simultaneous Participation by Video Conference in
BROOKINGS: Southwestern Oregon Community College Room 2 420 Alder Street Brookings, OR 97415
ROSEBURG: Umpqua Community College, Lockwood Hall 2, 1140 Umpqua College Rd. Roseburg 97470

9:00-12:00PM BEAVERTON – PCC Rock Creek Campus, Auditorium Building 3, 17705 NW Springville Rd, Portland
2:00–5:00PM PORTLAND – Portland State Univ. (Specific Location Details TBA)

9:00-12:00PM GRESHAM – Mt. Hood Community College, Room 1710, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham 97030
3:00–6:00PM OREGON CITY – Clackamas Community College, McLoughlin Auditorium, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City 97045

11:00-2:00PM TILLAMOOK – Tillamook Bay Community College, Room 214/215, 4301 3rd St, Tillamook 97141
Simultaneous Participation by Video Conference in
ASTORIA: (Specific Location Details TBA)
LINCOLN CITY: Oregon Coast Community College, Room 119, 3788 SE High School Dr, Lincoln City, OR 97367
NEWPORT: Oregon Coast Community College, Room 61, 400 SE College Way, Newport, OR 97366

10:00-1:00PM EUGENE – Univ. of Oregon, Knight Law Center, Room 175, 1515 Agate St, Eugene 97403
3:30-6:30PM CORVALLIS – Linn-Benton Community College (Specific Location Details TBA)

To download a full detailed schedule of hearings => CLICK HERE


Map of Locations =>


For more information on Redistricting in Oregon please visit => The Joint Committee on Redistricting Website