Port Commissioners agree to propose new district boundaries that are the same as those to be proposed by the Board of County Commissioners

Expansion of both commissions will be up to voters next month


The Port of Olympia’s commissioners agreed to set its districts’ boundaries to match those of the County Commissioners during a work session held yesterday, October 3.

Thurston County’s Board of County Commissioners had agreed to accept the same map on September 28 as part of their own redistricting efforts. Both entities are both working to add two more districts from just three due to the population of the county exceeding 300,000 earlier this year.

Before redistricting could proceed, voters will have to first agree on the addition of two new districts. They are set to vote on the matter as part of a ballot proposition in the general elections on November 8.

The Port will then hold public hearings on the boundaries of the five districts on November 29 and consider public comment on December 2, before finalizing the redistricting plan on December 12.

The Port Commission had to choose between two maps brought forward by the redistricting committee. While the two maps were almost identical, the main difference was between the boundaries of Districts 1 and 4.

Under the approved map, District 1 would comprisethe eastern part of Olympia up to Big Fishtrap Bay. It would also include neighborhoods beyond Olympia such as Hewitt Lake, Smith Lake, Sweet Briar, Wilderness, Hays, Delridge, and Indian Summer, and some areas of south Lacey.

The approved version of District 4 occupies more area compared to the other map, and is proposed to cover southwest Lacey, adjacent neighborhoods around Long Lake and Pattison Lake, and extendup to Johnson Point.

District 2 would cover the rest of Lacey and Yelm down to Lawrence Lake and areas south of Nisqually River.

District 3 would include west Olympia and north Tumwater, extending westwards to Summit Lake.

Port Commissioner Joe Downing said that communities south of Thurston County suggested they should be part of the same district to represent the rural part of the county. District 5 would include south Tumwater, Tenino, Rainier, Bucoda, Grand Mound, and Rochester.

How did they determine the district boundaries?

The Redistricting Committee met three times to review objectives of the process and the subsequent alternatives.

According to its documents, the objectives of redistricting were:

  • Have one-fifth of the population of the county,
  • maintain the current commissioners in their elected districts,
  • follow precinct lines,
  • maintain communities of mutual interest,
  • be as compact and contiguous as possible, and
  • not be gerrymandered

The Port expects to spend $145,000 annually to support two new district commissioners and an additional $200,000 for every election cycle, according to Port Executive Director Sam Gibboney.


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