SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Legislature will meet for a special session on Monday, Sept. 20, to adopt new congressional and legislative district maps, Gov. Kate Brown's Office announced Friday. The special session will begin at 8 a.m.
Oregon will gain a congressional seat for the first time in 40 years, starting at the beginning of 2023, thanks to population growth recorded in the 2020 census.
Members of the Oregon House Interim Committee on Redistricting met virtually last week and shared their redistricting proposals, both of which favor their own party, according to independent analysis.
Four of Oregon's House seats are currently held by Democrats, while the state's second congressional district, which encompasses nearly all of Central, Eastern and Southern Oregon and is one of the largest in the country in terms of land area, has long been represented by a Republican.
The Democrats' plan would add the sixth House seat to the south and southwest of Portland, including Yamhill County and parts of Washington and Marion counties, including the city of Salem.
The Republicans' plan would shrink the first and third districts to keep them confined to the heavily Democratic voters in Multnomah and Washington counties. It would keep the second district roughly the same and safely Republican.
If the two parties don't come to an agreement by Sept. 27, a panel of judges would be put in charge of the congressional map and Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, would be responsible for coming up with the two state legislative maps.
Fagan has said she would put together a commission of Oregonians to help with the process. In the past 60 years, Oregon lawmakers have only come up with one plan that wasn't challenged or vetoed by a governor — the most recent map, passed in 2011.
The state constitution says the Legislature must also reapportion legislative districts every 10 years, following the U.S. Census. There are 60 legislative districts in Oregon, and lawmakers will be deciding where to move the boundary lines based on the population data.
“In Oregon, we believe your vote is your voice, and every voice matters,” Gov. Brown said in a statement Friday. “This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box. Based on my conversations with legislative leaders, and the ongoing public testimony we are hearing from Oregonians across the state this week, I believe the Legislature is ready to begin the next step of the redistricting process.”