The 20th Legislative District extends south deeper into Clark County than previously, picking up La Center, Ridgefield, Yacolt and Amboy, as well as areas at the north end of the county.
The 49th Legislative District loses parts of Hazel Dell but gains Orchards and other areas east of Interstate 205.
‘A significant change’
State lawmakers have been waiting to see what changes are coming for their districts. If the commission’s maps are adopted by the Supreme Court, Clark County residents will see substantial changes.
“It’s a significant change for my district. It was becoming a more urban district, and now it becomes a more rural district,” said state Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver. “It’s interesting that the 17th and 18th districts kind of switched roles.”
Harris, who represents the 17th District, said he was somewhat surprised at the new boundaries. He said he expected his district to extend farther south into the Brandt Road area, but not necessarily to the north. Under the new maps, District 17’s boundaries would be expanded to the north and east of Yacolt, while District 18 would border District 49 to the east and lose many of the rural areas it now encompasses.
Shafar also gave an overview of the changes to the council, noting that under the new maps, District 18 would include Felida, Salmon Creek and Battle Ground. She also noted that the 20th District would come considerably south into Clark County to include La Center, Ridgefield, Yacolt, Amboy and areas at the north end of the county.
“That’s kind of sad there was no flexibility,” said Councilor Gary Medvigy. “Because of all the data being so late, and because of the pandemic, we’re going to run into that locally as well.”
Clark County is also redrawing its district map; the process already has been delayed — in part — because Census data wasn’t available.
“There’s just too much time pressure,” Medvigy said. “It’s sad they didn’t just let it play out, give them one more day.”
Shafar said it would have required a state constitutional amendment to allow the redistricting commission more time. She noted that Medvigy wasn’t alone in those sentiments and the Legislature may look to put an amendment before voters soon.
“We conducted an unprecedented public outreach program. We heard from thousands of Washingtonians, consulted extensively with tribal partners, and ultimately drew maps that are fair and reflect the agreement of the voting commissioners,” Graves said in a statement.
He said the commissioners had reached agreement before the deadline but were unable to make agreed-upon changes to the maps in time.
“That is a deep disappointment,” Graves said.
Despite the technical challenges, he said he supports the maps the commission produced and also recommended that the Supreme Court approve them.
“They are fair, they reflect the agreement of the four voting commissioners, and they will serve well the people of Washington,” Graves said.
The state redistricting process should have been smoother, he said.
“I believe strongly in open government. … So I am more than disappointed that the chaos Monday evening led to a lack of transparency and open deliberation,” Graves added. “We did not live up to the standard for open government that the commission promised, that I expect from my government, and that the people deserve.”