Senate redistricting solutions are in the East
The solution to quibbling over Senate district lines in Eastern Oregon can solve itself without ever crossing the Cascades to the West, at least.
Both Senate Districts 30 and 29 have had their eyes on part of Baker County to help shore up their population bases. District 29, which includes Pendleton and La Grande, is 4,023 people short; District 30, which stretches from Ontario to Klamath Falls, is 6,986 people short.
Our elected official from District 28, Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, has drawn a line in the sand over separating Grant and Baker counties.
And it has nothing to do with his continued leadership he is serving his last term, due to term limits.
Instead, Ferrioli sees a strong link between Grant and Baker counties, a tie as old as the Sumpter Valley Railroad and as current as a Sunday shopping trip for a Canyon City family at Bakers Bi-Mart.
The solution to the dilemmas of all three districts Ferriolis already sprawling spread has to pick up another 4,962 people to meet muster lies just east of the Cascades in the district that includes Wasco, Jefferson and booming Deschutes County.
There, Sen. Bev Clarnos District 27 needs to shed an astonishing 26,482 people to meet the target population of 114,047.
That is 10,511 more people than Districts 29, 29 and 30 need to hit the target population.
The solution is obvious: append the remainder of Klamath County and part of southern Deschutes County to District 30; add more of Morrow County, now in District 28, to District 29; and expand District 28 into Wasco and/or Jefferson counties.
This solution could even allow District 28 to shed a few more bodies in East MultnomahCounty to help the Portland metropolitan districts accomplish their shuffle.
And while even the quickest and dirtiest Eastern Oregon shuffle leaves District 27 more than 10,000 people over budget, neighboring Districts 22 and 23 are short almost a combined 20,000.
Those districts or others on the West Slope of the Cascades could reach over into Eastern Oregon to make up the needed population and, at the same time, knock down a barrier that looms large in Oregons psyche: the East-West Divide.