Portland releases drafts of new district maps for city council, community feedback invited
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - An independent commission working with the City of Portland released Thursday three map drafts for the new Portland City Council districts coming in 2025.
Portland voters passed Ballot Measure 26-228 by about 57 percent of the vote in November, setting in motion a change to the city’s government in 2025.
There will be four districts represented by three at-large city council members. The draft maps will be featured in public hearings this summer by the city’s independent district commission.
Those in favor of the measure say more people on council means more equal representation, but for retired Portland development commission employee Juanita Swartwood, the bold changes have her concerned.
“Being that I had worked for the city, and being involved with the mayor’s office off and on with budget reviews and so forth, I am concerned with how this is going to affect our city budget,” Swartwood said. “You know, it’s expensive now and we’ve been raising more and more taxes.”
The Independent District Commission’s website says over the next few years, it could cost the city up to about $6 million per year to make the transition, and once in place, the new form of government could cost the city nearly $9 million per year.
In response to the release of the new maps, commission chair Marta Hanson released the following statement:
“We are eager for as many folks as possible to engage with these draft maps this summer—especially those who have historically been left out of structural decision-making—so we can do our best to craft a final district plan that paves the way for a more inclusive, representative future.”
Swartwood is a longtime resident of the Lents neighborhood, and while the new maps mostly divide the district by geographic boundaries like highways and the Willamette River, Swartwood said she thinks it’s going to be hard for the council to represent everyone’s interests, especially in the diverse communities of northeast and southeast Portland.
“Finding someone that’s going to meet all of our needs, it’s a little bit nerve wracking,” Swartwood said. “We want to make sure everyone is heard, but when you have a very diverse community, how can you encompass that in three people.”
Public hearings are set for the commission get feedback on the maps from Portlanders throughout this summer.
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