Clallam County takes next step in adjusting commissioner districts

PORT ANGELES — The next step in aligning Clallam County’s three commissioner districts to current populations is in place as local officials prepare to redraw new boundary lines based on 2020 Census figures.

Clallam County announced last week the awarding of a personal services agreement to the team of Don Corson and Gene Unger to support the Clallam County Redistricting Commission — the entity responsible for establishing new county commissioner districts based on census figures.

“I think we all sort of understand that the population shift has gone a little eastward; Sequim has grown more than the west side,” commission chair John Teichert said. “(But) I don’t think anything major will occur because of the redistricting effort.”

Teichert said the hiring of Corson and Unger, known collectively as the Districting Master, is “to assist from a technical standpoint, taking census material (and) applying it to the three districts of the county commissioners.”

Corson and Unger handled the 2010 Census redistricting process, Teichert noted.

“We feel really comfortable in their qualifications to do the effort for us,” he said in an April interview.

Delays

With government entities dealing with pandemic issues since March 2020, the release of national census population counts have been delayed.

Revised census numbers are expected to be provided to each state by mid-August, and counties will receive the 2020 Census information within 45 days after that.

That puts Clallam County about six months behind schedule, Teichert said.

“In 2010, everything was almost done by this time (of the year), he said.

Three to four months after the county receives the 2020 Census figures, the Districting Master will offer the commission three options, Teichert said.

A goal will be to generally keep the commission boundaries by north and south lines and attempt to not split precinct boundaries, if possible, he said.

The commission will then take those three options and present them for public scrutiny and comments in public hearings — sometime toward the end of October or early November, Teichert estimated — in Sequim, Port Angeles and the county’s West End before making a final recommendation based on guidelines established by the Clallam County Charter.

The charter, county officials note, requires the population of each district is within 5 percent of each other, based on the 2020 Census figures provided later this year.

Everything will be in place, Teichert said, by the time the next candidate filing date comes around in May 2022.

The five-member Redistrict Commission includes one person recommended by each of the county commissioners, along with one person representing the county’s major political parties.

Commission members include:

• Walter Livingston (District 1, Sequim).

• John Teichert (District 2, Port Angeles).

• Bradley Collins (District 3, West End.

• Beverly Hetrick-Oosterveld (Democratic Party).

• Jim McEntire (Republican Party.)

Get more Districting Commission meeting information at clallam.net/bocc/DistrictingCommission.html. Questions or comments can be directed to commission clerk Loni Gores at agores@co.clallam.wa.us or 360-417-2256.

Census

The U.S. Census Bureau announced in late April that the total population of the United States is 331,449,281 as the country grew at its second-slowest rate in history, at 7.4 percent (the slowest growth was between 1930-1940), the Seattle Times noted.

The population of Washington state grew to 7,705,281 from 6,724,540 in the decade between the 2010 census and the 2020 census.

The 14.6 percent increase is not enough for Washington to add to its 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Texas (two seats), Florida, Oregon, Colorado, Montana and North Carolina gained U.S. House seats, while seven states lost seats, including California for the first time.

Others to lose House seats included New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia.

However, the increase in Washington state’s population contributed to the 9.2 percent growth in the West as that region and the South increased, and the eastern and northern portions of the nation lost population, the Seattle Times reported.

The state redistricting commission has until Nov. 15 to agree on new boundaries.

At least three of four members must agree to the maps.

The Legislature can make only minor changes to the commission maps, and the governor has no role.

For more about Census 2020, see census.gov.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

More in Politics

Port Angeles City Council hopefuls Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund answer questions during a Port Angeles Business Association forum Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles mayor to run for county commission

Dexter has supported climate action plan, affordable housing

Emily Randall, left, and Hilary Franz.
Stalwarts take sides in race for Kilmer’s seat

A growing constellation of Democratic Party influencers are choosing sides in the… Continue reading

Online learning keeps rising among state’s K-12 students

Online learning for Washington’s public school kids is here to stay. That’s… Continue reading

Jefferson County turnout tops in state

More than half registered voters handed in ballots

Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest

Johnson
Clallam commissioner announces bid for third term

Housing, timber revenue among several priorities

Mike Chapman.
Housing discussed at update

Tharinger, Chapman talk about legislation

House, Senate release spending proposals

Supplemental budgets to be negotiated

Plan to cap how much landlords can raise rent moves ahead

Statewide caps on annual rent increases could take effect in… Continue reading

State House approves unemployment benefits for strikers

Workers who are on strike or locked out of their… Continue reading

Chapman explains votes

Rep. Mike Chapman was among the few Democrats who voted… Continue reading

Democrats Franz, Randall stockpile cash in battle for US House position

Cash is flowing into campaign coffers of two Democrats dueling for an… Continue reading