Friday, March 4, 2011

Redistricting Debate Returns to Bend

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 12:30 AM

New Census numbers in hand, Oregon legislators are setting forth on a mission to redraw the state’s legislative districts, a journey that will take them from Bend to Burns on the east side of the Cascades. The bi-partisan House and Senate Committees on Redistricting will be in Bend on Saturday March 19 to hear constituents thoughts on re-districting. Video conference links to the meeting will be available in both Madras and the Dalles.

The redistricting effort could have significant implications for Central Oregon and the state as a whole, given the slim margin enjoyed by Democrats in the Senate and the even split in the House.

For example, the last redistricting established the so-called doughnut district in Bend (54),which is completely surrounded by House Dist. 53. The move lumped Bend residents together, but also segregated them from their more conservative leaning rural counterparts. Democrats briefly gained control of the district with the election of Judy Stiegler in 2008. Stiegler was defeated by her Republican challenger Bend attorney and businessman Jason Conger in November after a close and sometimes bitterly contested race.

Since the 2000 Census, Oregon has grown by more than 400,000 people and Deschutes County is one of the biggest winners in the population lottery, growing by roughly 47 percent. Bend’s hearing will take place at the OSU Cascades Campus Room 107 and 117. 2600 NW College Way.



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