In-migration from The State That Dare Not Speak Its Name has finally resulted in Oregon gaining a congressional seat while our southern neighbor loses one. Will the resulting redistricting be more important than who the Blazers hire as head coach? —The Pearl Kid
It’s official: So many people have moved to Oregon from California that they’re now entitled to their very own congressperson.
I’m not entirely kidding. Since the last time Oregon added a congressional seat—way back in 1982—we’ve welcomed (if you want to call it that) something like 1.1 million Californians to the Beaver State.
Of course, we didn’t really capture quite that many new citizens, since over those four decades a half million or so Oregonians moved to California. But even allowing for this, our net gain—the raw number of folks we added to our cargo of souls entirely at California’s expense—comes to a respectable 600,000.
That’s a lot of people. Given that the population of an average U.S. House district is 700,000, you could be forgiven for thinking maybe we should skip the nightmare of redistricting entirely and just let the Californians among us elect their own representative at large.
That said, Kid, I’m not entirely sure what this has to do with the Portland Trail Blazers’ search for a new head coach. I had a look at the Blazers’ 1982 roster, but the only thing I could determine—aside from the fact that it was a bunch of guys I’d never heard of—is that Fat Lever is probably the greatest name for a major league athlete since White Sox outfielder Rusty Kuntz.
Frankly, there’s not that much that politics and Blazers basketball have in common, aside from the obvious fact that devotees of either are guaranteed a lifetime of despair. But even I’m not cynical enough to say that they carry the same weight—Lebron James is a formidable opponent, but it’s not like if he dunks on you 60 million people are going to lose their health insurance.
No, redistricting is far more consequential than a basketball game. And you can get involved! Ten public hearings about how district boundaries should be drawn have already been scheduled. I can only hope Moda Center will be large enough to hold the multitudes who I’m sure—sure!—will be there to make their voices heard.
Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.