Area legislative districts will grow

By on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 in Columbia Basin News Columbia Basin Top Stories

 SALEM – There are two separate redistricting moves at work in the Oregon Legislature. The most contentious one is for the new congressional district, which has Republicans in the House of Representatives considering a walkout. The second are changes to the districts in the state House of Representatives and state Senate. U.S. Census figures mean House of Representatives districts must increase to 7,500 additional people, while Senate districts must embrace 15,000 more voters.

State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) says he feels accepting the growth is in the best interest of his district, which now includes much more geography.

“Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman, and Wasco; and now in Wheeler and Jefferson and Clackamas, and I think even a part of Linn County,” Smith said of the area soon to be included in his district.

He said Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) will have to travel even farther.

“Sen. Hansell’s district is going to grow by 15,000 citizens,” Smith said. “It’s a large district starting on the Snake River-Idaho border, he goes all the way to Mt. Hood and to Mt. Jefferson in Wasco and Jefferson counties. He’s going to be putting a few miles on his rig.”

The special session was delayed yesterday, prior to a possible walkout, because a person there had tested positive for COVID-19.