Update! Virus fear-mongering overrides all posturing on indoor mask mandates. Claiming "[the] Delta variant has changed everything", legislative leadership nixed the in-person portion of the redistricting roadshow scheduled for September. Given the "success" of virtual session this year, all hearings will be held over the internet. Although the timeframe remains the same — Wednesday 9/8 - Monday 9/13 — owing to the elimination of travel, the schedule is compressed from five to four days, with no weekend sessions.
Each of the five Congressional Districts will have two three-hour sessions focused on their redistricting preferences and ideas. Instead of three statewide sessions on Monday, there will be only two (CD 5 sessions are highlighted below):
Wednesday, 8 September
- 8:00-11:00 — Residents of CD 1
- 1:00-4:00 — Residents of CD 2
- 5:30-8:30 — Residents of CD 3
Thursday, 9 September
- 8:00-11:00 — Residents of CD 4
- 1:00-4:00 — Residents of CD 5
- 5:30-8:30 — Residents of CD 1
Friday, 10 September
- 8:00-11:00 — Residents of CD 2
- 1:00-4:00 — Residents of CD 3
- 5:30-8:30 — Residents of CD 4
Monday, 13 September
- 8:00-11:00 — Residents of CD 5
- 1:00-4:00 — Statewide (All residents; All districts)
- 5:30-8:30 — Statewide (All residents; All districts)
To testify during one of the four sessions open to you, whether by phone or video, sign up at OLIS. You can submit written testimony (instructions) to either the House or Senate committee by way of the linked web portals or by e-mail to the administrator of the committees through 5:30 pm (24 hours after the beginning of the final Monday hearing) Tuesday the 14th. The committees request, however, that you focus your testimony to the draft maps that will be released at the first joint hearing of the two committees on Friday the 3rd. In order to consider a map, however, the committees have set a deadline of Tuesday the 7th.
Original post: With the release of the official redistricting census data on Thursday, 12 August, Oregon entered the race to create its legislative map that will determine representation in the state capitol in Salem and the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC for the next ten years. Oregon has known since April that population growth since 2010 makes possible creation of a sixth congressional district. That in and of itself should motivate every citizen in this state to set to work and draw that perfect map.
The Oregon Constitution assigns to the legislature the task of drawing state and federal district lines following each decennial census. Typically the redistricting consumes much of air of the first session following the completion of the census, but this year, due to delays in counting and compiling the data in Washington, the legislature was unable to even start the task during the session that ended last June. Secretary of State Shemia Fagan stood ready and eager to take up the assignment. House and Senate Democrats sued in the Oregon Supreme Court in March to bar her from drawing lines based on data from Portland State University's Population Research Center and extend the deadline until "three calendar months after the 2020 Census data is released" in order for the legislature to complete its work during a special session. While the Court decided to let the legislature have its crack at the task, it did not grant the request for three months. Instead, it set a deadline of 27 September for them to adopt a plan. How fortunate that the release earlier this week provides legislators a full month and a half.
Marion County Republicans legislators like Rep. Bill Post have been encouraging constituents to involve themselves in the process. Rep. Post's latest newsletter, linked above, contains an excellent primer regarding the process. The Oregon Legislature web site has a variety of tools to help everyone to draw and submit their own perfect map and supporting testimony. The legislature would do well to listen to and heed the testimonies of voters. At least as a pretext, the Committees on Redistricting have set in-person hearings in nine locations around the state over a period of four days. On Monday, 13 September (note the graphic says Monday 9/12), there will be three virtual sessions to allow those unable to attend in person to present testimony.
Please take advantage of all these tools to make your voice heard. Spend some quality time at the redistricting site at the Oregon Legislature site: Draw some maps (Note that the latest census data likely will not be available until Wednesday) with the interactive ESRI mapping tool; read over or listen to discussions and exhibits from committee meetings and hearings to learn where they are headed. Most of all, make sure you speak up when afforded the opportunity. At least let your Representative and Senator know what you think. Remember, what happens over the next month and a half will determine the political future of Oregon for at least the next ten years.