April 20, 2011

The Multnomah County Auditor’s Office is holding a public forum on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 to gather public input on redistricting the geographical areas served by the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners. The meeting will take place from 5:45 to 7 p.m. at 501 SE Hawthorne, Portland.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing established commissioner district boundaries to account for changes in population following the U.S. Census, which occurs every 10 years.  As a result of population changes, the lines are redrawn so that districts are of roughly equal population, as required by the Multnomah County Home Rule Charter.

The charter requires the Auditor’s Office to prepare a plan to modify the district boundaries after each decennial (ten year) census if the population of any commissioner district exceeds 103 percent of any other district.  The plan must be presented to the Board by August 1, 2011.

Between 2000 and 2010, Multnomah County’s population grew 11.3 percent, from 660,486 to 735,334.  Because of that change, the ideal district size for the four county districts also increased from 165,122 to a new target population of 183,834. 

While every commissioner district gained population over the last ten years, District 4, the East County district, grew the most and its population exceeds each of the other districts by more than 103 percent. 

The purpose of this forum is to give the public an opportunity to view maps of the current and proposed districts and comment on characteristics within the districts that they believe should be considered during the redistricting process.  The redistricting information can also be accessed on the Auditor’s Office website at /auditor/redistricting

The Multnomah County Charter specifies that the Auditor’s redistricting plan must retain the geographic characteristics of the existing districts as nearly as possible and no district can be greater than 102 percent of any other. Within that framework, the Auditor’s Office will consider other common redistricting guidelines, such as those found in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 188.010).  This includes using existing geographic or political boundaries where possible, considering communities of common interest, and not diluting the voting strength of any language or minority group. 

Members of the community who are unable to attend this public forum are encouraged to send comments or questions to the Multnomah County Auditor’s Office at mult.auditor@multco.us or call 503-988-3320 for more information.