Redistricting session delayed due to COVID-19

By on Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

SALEM – The Oregon Legislature Speaker of the House Tina Kotek’s office has released information that a person testing positive for COVID-19 was present at the Capitol Monday, forcing a delay to the special session to set new boundaries for Oregon’s Congressional and legislative districts.

Close contacts of the person who tested positive were notified individually.

“The speaker’s office is working with the governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority to make sure testing is available to the individuals who were close contacts,” a statement from Rep. Tina Kotek’s office reads. “The House recognizes that this special session is being conducted during a global pandemic. Building procedures have been modified in adherence to OSHA rules and OHA guidance.

Kotek says her goal is to preserve health and safety while continuing to fulfill the Legislature’s constitutional duty of redistricting.

The news release states that more updates will be provided as soon as they are available.

Prior to the announcement, some Republicans were discussing walking out in a dispute over the boundaries for the state’s new Congressional district, saying the map proposed by the Democrat majority was a clear case of gerrymandering.

State Rep. Greg Smith(R-Heppner) told Elkhorn Media Group that they would prefer to leave drawing the lines for the new Congressional District to the courts rather than allow the Democrats to pass their map. During that conversation earlier Tuesday, Smith said that first his party members wanted to try to reason with Democrats instead of walking out. Those around the Capitol said there appeared to be no Republicans present for the session that was to convene at 1 p.m. today (Tuesday), when the COVID announcement was made.