Bend Bulletin Editorial Board | 09.29.21

Was anybody really surprised that Oregon legislators couldn’t agree on redistricting? We’re guessing you weren’t.

It’s too political. There’s too much at stake — control of the Legislature and the majority of Oregon’s seats in Congress. Democrats have that clinched for now and perhaps for the future.

Does Oregon need a new way of redistricting? It’s long been suggested that a nonpartisan commission draw the lines rather than the almost certainly partisan process of the Legislature. There’s been efforts to get it on the ballot before. And on Tuesday, as The Oregonian reported, it was announced there would be a new effort to get the idea of an independent redistricting commission on the ballot in 2022.

“The promise of fair representation should not be a pawn in a partisan political game,” said Norman Turrill, chair of the People Not Politicians campaign and former president of the League of Women Voters of Oregon.

Would an independent redistricting commission solve the problem?

Maybe. We’d like to see the idea on the ballot.

Could the districts be compact, relatively equal in population, not divide communities and protect minority representation?

Could a group of people, not politicians look past their political leanings and try to make it as fair as possible?

The new process would likely also be imperfect. It certainly feels better than asking politicians to draw their own districts.