I don’t know where the hours went, but it might have had something to do with the new DistrctR tool which is awesome and addictive.
DistrctR is the computer program the Independent District Commission (IDC) is using to draw Portland’s new four-district city council map — and you can join in with your own map too! Everything has been set up so that you can draw a map and have it published on a Portland Community Gallery online. Get in early, there are only eight maps up so far. Here are three of them:
Reed College Political Science Professor Paul Gronke contacted me earlier this week with news of the new version, which is now based on 2020 census data.
“The prior maps relied on 2010 Census data which was, frankly, quite out of date for Portland. In particular, the percentages of Hispanic were substantially lower, and residential patterns have changed quite a bit in the last decade,” Gronke emailed.
Plus, the new version is a whole lot slicker.
The “data layers” page lets you overlay neighborhood and school district boundaries and also precincts (in case you want your map to keep those communities whole). It’s also now based on census blocks, which allows for more granular, refined maps. Gronke tells me that his students are finding it much easier to hit the 163,126 “equal population” sweet spot that four districts requires.
Remember, your districts should:
- be contiguous and compact
- use existing geographic or political boundaries
- not divide communities of common interest
- be connected by transportation links
- be of equal population
The IDC has a page of links to Key Documents some of which which are educational. Their timeline shows that they plan to have a draft district map by June.
DistrctR is the work of the MGGG Redistricting Lab at Tufts University (MGGG stands for Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group). MGGG is a non-partisan research organization which contributed to Portland’s Charter Reform effort by modeling Portland voting. FLO Analytics is providing technical expertise to the IDC.