UPDATE: Washington Legislature approves redistricting plan

Changes will boot Orcutt from current district, could benefit Herrera Beutler

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor



State lawmakers on Wednesday approved a plan that redraws voter district lines in a way that kicks state Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, out of the 18th District and that might make re-election easier for Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.

Legislative and congressional districts are adjusted once a decade after Census numbers are released. By law, all legislative and congressional districts around the state must be home to roughly the same number of residents.

One of the larger changes occurred in the 18th District, which currently includes Washougal, Camas, a corridor in east Vancouver, the northern half of Clark County and a vast swath of Cowlitz County east of Interstate 5. The new map has the district gain a little more area around Washougal — but its northern boundary is now south of the Cowlitz County line for almost its entire length.

Residents of eastern Cowlitz County and a chunk of northern Clark County who currently live in the 18th will vote in the 20th District for at least the next 10 years. The home of state Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, will be part of the 20th District.

Orcutt has said he plans to run in the 20th District in the fall, and he’ll have to campaign in parts of Lewis and Thurston counties to do so.

With the 20th stretching so far south, Clark County will now include portions of five legislative districts, up from four.

Two of those districts barely changed. The 49th, which centers on downtown Vancouver, appears to have gained a small area north of 99th Street. The 17th District, a narrow strip east of Interstate 205, seems to have lost a little bit in its northeast corner.

That eastern portion of Clark County will become part of the 14th District instead of the 15th, as it currently is.

State senators approved the redistricting plan on Wednesday morning after it had already passed through the state House of Representatives. The plan was created by the Washington State Redistricting Commission, and lawmakers only made some minor tweaks to the plan.

One of those small changes moves a roughly one-square mile chunk of land south of Harmony Elementary School from the 17th to the 18th District.

When it comes to congressional districts, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s 3rd District will look a little more red come November. It will lose voters from Olympia and gain voters from Klickitat County, east of the Cascades. Redistricting created a 10th Congressional District seat for Washington state, which experienced an increase in population during the past decade.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics