Redistricting: The Census Data is in - What is next? August 12, 2021

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The process of redistricting is well underway this year. Required by the constitution once every ten years, redistricting ensures that political boundaries reflect population changes. One major development this year is that Oregon officially earned a sixth congressional seat, increasing our representation in Congress.

It's vital that Oregonians take part in the process of redistricting because of the impact it has on a variety of issues. Not only will legislators determine where to put Oregon’s sixth congressional seat, but all congressional and state legislative lines are subject to change. This affects who our elected officials can be for the next ten years, and influences local funding for things like emergency services, schools, and transportation.

That’s why you’re encouraged to take part in several public meetings across the state that will be held by the House and Senate Redistricting Committees. Your concerns can greatly influence how maps are drawn, and without your participation it will be harder to draw district lines that accurately reflect your interests. Oregon is at a high risk of gerrymandering this year which would favor one political party over another. Strong public participation can greatly reduce this risk.

The following public meetings are your chance to meet with legislators in person and discuss what’s most important to you for redistricting:

RED Roadshow Dates


House Republicans have an equal number of Representatives on the House Redistricting Committee and will be focused on the following statutory criteria per ORS188.010 to ensure a fair and honest process:

(1) Each district, as nearly as practicable, shall:

      (a) Be contiguous;

      (b) Be of equal population;

      (c) Utilize existing geographic or political boundaries;

      (d) Not divide communities of common interest; and

      (e) Be connected by transportation links.

(2) No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent legislator or other person.

(3) No district shall be drawn for the purpose of diluting the voting strength of any language or ethnic minority group.

(4) Two state House of Representative districts shall be wholly included within a single state senatorial district.

To learn more about redistricting or one of the public meetings nearest you, visit:

Redistricting 101

The United States Constitution requires a census every ten years to determine the number of people residing in each state. Once the population of each state has been determined, the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are redistributed based on population losses or gains in each state. This process is known as reapportionment.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the district boundaries of state House, Senate, and Congressional districts. States take a variety of approaches to accomplish redistricting. Redistricting can be performed by the legislative, judicial, or executive branches, or by an independent commission. In Oregon, the state Constitution directs the Legislative Assembly to draw the district boundaries.

The Legislative Assembly draws maps to create districts that contain roughly equal populations for each of the three types of districts. In 2011, the ideal population for Oregon’s districts were as follows: 60 House districts of 63,851; 30 Senate districts of 127,702; and 5 Congressional districts of 766,215. By law, the U.S. Census Bureau must send the numbers of seats allocated to each state in the House of Representatives by December 31st of years ending in zero (i.e., 2000, 2010, 2020, etc.) to the President. No later than April 1st of the following year, the U.S. Census Bureau must send population data to the states. In Oregon, the Legislative Assembly has until July 1st of the year following a census to pass redistricting legislation. As with many other things, the unprecedented time we currently live in, this deadline was extended.

Breaking down the revised timeline 



What’s important to know about the 2020 US Census

The census provides the basis for congressional apportionment, states’ votes in the Electoral College, and redistricting for congressional, legislative and local electoral districts. It also determines how much federal money gets distributed to the states and it shapes how businesses and policymakers make decisions.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant extensions and delays to the 2020 census operations. The self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census ended on October 15, 2020. The apportionment data was delivered by April 30.

On April 26, 2021 the U.S. Census Bureau announced the apportionment results for the 2020 Census. We now know Oregon's total population, and that Oregon will receive a 6th congressional district. 

  • Oregon Resident Population: 4,237,256
  • Average Population per Congressional District: 706,209
  • Average Population per Oregon Senate District: 141,242
  • Average Population per Oregon House District: 70,621

What criteria do states use across the country to draw district lines?

The people of Oregon will have the opportunity to weigh in during public meetings and even draw their own maps using the tool at the state’s redistricting website, here.

As you consider what is important to you regarding redistricting, here is a collection of all the different criteria used across the country by different states when drawing district lines:

  • Compactness: Having the minimum distance between all the parts of a constituency (a circle, square or a hexagon is the most compact district).
  • Contiguity: All parts of a district being connected at some point with the rest of the district.
  • Preservation of counties and other political subdivisions: This refers to not crossing county, city, or town, boundaries when drawing districts.
  • Preservation of communities of interest: Geographical areas, such as neighborhoods of a city or regions of a state, where the residents have common political interests that do not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of a political subdivision, such as a city or county.
  • Avoiding pairing incumbents: This refers to avoiding districts that would create contests between incumbents.

These emerging criteria have been considered and adopted in a few states since 2000:

  • Prohibition on favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, candidate or party: The prohibition in a given state may be broader, covering any person or group, or it may be limited to intentionally or unduly favoring a person or group. Details on these prohibitions are included in the state descriptions below.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data: Line drawers, whether they be commissioners (California and Montana), nonpartisan staff (Iowa), or legislators (Nebraska), are prohibited from using incumbent residences, election results, party registration, or other socio-economic data as an input when redrawing districts.
  • Competitiveness: Districts having relatively even partisan balance, making competition between the two major parties more intense. This criterion typically seeks to avoid the creation of “safe” districts for a particular party. For instance, the Arizona constitution states that “to the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.”



Friends, today marks another important step in the process of redrawing Oregon’s political boundaries. As of today, we now have the 2020 Census Redistricting Data. We join our colleagues in committing to an open, transparent and collaborative process. At the same time, we recognize that Oregon’s current political maps have not produced equitable representation for minority communities and differing political views.

It is our shared responsibility to fix this. Over the next month and a half, we urge every member of the Legislature to reject partisan influences that are too often an inherent part of this process and to commit to producing fair maps that accurately reflect the diversity of the people of Oregon.

Full press release link here

To help us shape the best outcome for all Oregonians, lending your voice in this historical process is not only helpful - but essential. Please contact my office if you have questions about signing up to provide public testimony or submitting written testimony. 


See you on the road,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1415
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-389, Salem, OR 97301