State redistricting process splits Snoqualmie Valley cities

Some Snoqualmie Valley cities are expected to see a change in their state representatives beginning in 2022.

The change comes as the state finished its redistricting process on Dec. 3 — and made changes to the legislative districts that make up the Snoqualmie Valley.

The state’s redistricting process comes every 10 years, alongside a new census, and redraws the state’s 49 legislative and 10 congressional district boundaries to better reflect how the population has changed.

The state last updated its districts in 2011, placing the entirety of the Snoqualmie Valley, excluding Duvall, into the 5th Legislative District. Under the new plan, only Snoqualmie and a slim portion of North Bend would remain in the 5th District.

Outgoing Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said he is not too concerned about the change because the city will continue to benefit from its strong relationship with its sitting legislators. He also does not believe the change will impact collaboration between Valley cities.

“I believe this provides an opportunity to expand Valley representation in Olympia,” he said. “When North Bend, Carnation and Duvall wish to advocate for a common issue, we will now have nine representatives to whom we can directly appeal.”

The City of North Bend did not return a request for comment by press time.

The current 5th District includes much of Eastern King County, going from the county’s northern border all the way to Enumclaw. Under the new proposal, the 5th District would be split almost in half near I-90, with Valley cities teetering between the 5th and 12th districts.

The proposal gives North Bend six state legislators, as the majority of city limits was moved to the 12th District. However, a portion of the Riverbend Neighborhood, inside city limits, remains in the 5th District.

Downtown Fall City would also be split between the 5th and 12th districts, while Carnation would move to the 12th District. Duvall will remain in the 45th District.

The split could swing party affiliation for much of the Valley, which has been represented by three Democrats since 2018 and a Democratic senator since 2012.

The 12th District — which includes Monroe, Leavenworth and Chelan — has been represented by three Republicans since at least 2008.

The proposed redistricting changes are not yet official. Lawmakers are allowed to make changes for the first 30 days of the legislative session, which begins Jan. 10. Changes to the map must receive a two-thirds vote by both the House and Senate, and may not exceed 2% of any total district population. After that 30-day period, maps will become law and remain in effect until 2031.

The maps also could be changed if two pending lawsuits — filed by the Washington Coalition for Open Government and Arthur West of Olympia — are successful in seeking to invalidate the results.

The lawsuits allege that the bipartisan Redistricting Commission, responsible for redrawing the state boundaries, violated the state’s open public meetings laws and negotiated in secret. The state Supreme Court will meet to consider accepting these cases on Jan. 6.

The Everett Herald contributed to this report.