Failed redistricting would have split Chelan and Douglas from 12th District, among other changes


OLYMPIA — The Washington Redistricting Commission failed to approve its voting district maps by the Monday deadline, but now the proposed district maps have been made public.

The final proposal would have redrawn existing central Washington legislative and congressional districts based on their population changes. The 12th Legislative District, which right now encompasses Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and part of northern Grant County, would instead stretch west across the Cascades into King County, reaching along the Highway 2 corridor all the way to the town of Monroe.

All of Douglas County, except about two-thirds of East Wenatchee, would join Okanogan County in an expanded 7th District, reaching to Pend Oreille County and the eastern Washington border. The split between Douglas and Chelan counties, which were historically bundled into the 12th District, was recommended to balance populations and communities of interest, commissioners said in their final abortive meeting Monday.

“We faced a number of challenges this year in central and eastern Washington, with population shifts and issues concerning Yakima, and I think there may be the prospect of the need to split Chelan and Douglas counties, although they have traditionally been together,” Republican-appointed commissioner Paul Graves told the bipartisan group.

The Douglas County section included in the 12th happens to take in the neighborhood of State Sen. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee. That means if the map were to be finalized as-is, Hawkins would still reside within his current district. State Reps. Keith Goehner and Mike Steele, both Chelan County residents, likewise would remain in the 12th.

District 13, centered around Grant County, would thicken southward to take in Tieton, Naches and Moxee.

In congressional maps, the 8th District would still cross the Cascades, but lose East Wenatchee to the 4th District. In return, the 8th would gain much of rural Snohomish County as far east as Granite Falls. The heavily rural 4th Congressional District would continue to touch both north and south boundaries of Washington, but gain Klickitat County while shedding the larger portions of Adams, Franklin and Walla Walla counties.

All those borders are still subject to change. Because of the commission’s failure — the first since it was created to carry out decennial redistrictings in 1990 — the mapmaking process by law now moves to the state Supreme Court, where it must be finalized by April 30th.