BRADBURY UNVEILS REDISTRICTING PLAN

July 17, 2001 11:00 pm

Secretary of State Bill Bradbury has come up with a draft legislative redistricting plan for the Oregon House of Representatives that would incorporate northern Grant County with Union and Wallowa counties.

The new District 60 would reflect some geographical changes from the current District 58. Local residents will have a chance to tell the secretary of state how they feel about the proposed changes and share their ideas on redistricting at public hearings next week.

The new district in Northeast Oregon, currently represented by House Speaker Mark Simmons, R-Elgin, would include Union and Wallowa counties and portions of eastern and southern Umatilla County as before. The major change would be to include the people of John Day and other residents of northern Grant County into the district.

The negative aspect of Bradburys proposal would be the alignment for a new Senate District because we would lose our association with Sen. David Nelson, R-Pendleton, who has served us well. Bradburys proposal would link District 60 with a new District 59 (Baker, Harney and Malheur counties and southern Grant County) into a Senate district. La Grande and Enterprise would be represented by Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, instead of Nelson, R-Pendleton.

The people of Baker County might like the looks of their new House district, involving a huge section of southeast Oregon. Baker County residents are currently in an unwieldy House district that stretches west all the way to suburban Portland.

Bradbury emphasizes his plan is only in draft form and he is willing to make adjustments based on what he learns at the hearings. The Democrat said he put together his plan without the input of his Democratic colleagues, avoiding the charge that he had come up with a plan simply to benefit party members.

Those in Union and Wallowa counties interested in how the House and Senate in 2002 would be shaped by Bradburys plan, or those who are concerned about losing David Nelson as their senator, can attend meetings Tuesday at noon in the first-floor conference room of Pendleton City Hall, 501 S.W. Emigrant St., or at 7 p.m. at the Baker County Library at 2400 Resort St., Baker City.

Redistricting is a politically touchy process. It is good that citizens have a chance to have their say on how the final redistricting map should look.

Whats your opinion?

What do you like or dislike about the redistricting scheme put forward by Secretary of State Bill Bradbury?

We would like to hear from you. E-mail, fax or mail your letter to the editor to The Observer. Your letter can be an important part of the discussion on how districts are shaped in 2002.