Tuesday is the last chance for the public to weigh in on new boundaries proposed for Metropolitan King County Council districts.

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Tuesday is the last chance for the public to weigh in on new boundaries proposed for Metropolitan King County Council districts.

Redistricting is done once a decade to reflect the latest census and population changes. The last of eight public hearings is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle.

A redistricting committee must adopt new boundaries by January.

Nationally, the process of drawing new districts is often rife with partisan politics, incumbent protection and gerrymandering to exclude minorities, notes the Municipal League of King County in a report released last week on the local process.

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But in King County, the league reported, it’s been “conducted with integrity and without improper influence.” And, the process cost about half of the $280,000 budgeted for it.

The proposed changes to the nine districts aren’t dramatic. “Basically they were just tweaking around the edges of districts to equalize populations,” said Kathy Elias, who led the league’s watchdog team.

A five-member committee drew the boundaries. Two were chosen by council Republicans, two by council Democrats; then the quartet selected a fifth member, former King County Superior Court Judge Terrence Carroll to serve as chairman.

Key to the panel’s process, according to the league, was Carroll’s insistence that members disclose publicly any contact with elected officials and their staff.

The chief challenge was how to shape new boundaries that reflected an 11 percent increase in county population since 2000, with most growth in the eastern and southern parts of the county and most of it involving people of color. The goal was to bring each district’s population to roughly 215,000.

No majority-minority districts have been proposed. But Carroll noted that three came close. The consensus proposal arrived at would have minority populations between 43 and 49 percent in three districts.

Some realignments came down to fine details: Councilmember Larry Phillips’ district, for instance, would extend slightly to the east in northwest Seattle from Aurora Avenue North to Interstate 5.

Some of the more significant proposed changes, listed by district and council member, include:

District 1 (Bob Ferguson): Lost northwest corner of Seattle, added Finn Hill area of Kirkland and some of Woodinville.

District 2 (Larry Gossett): Gained unincorporated areas of West Hill and Skyway to the south, plus Eastlake and North Capitol Hill in Seattle.

District 3 (Kathy Lambert): Lambert’s district had grown by 27 percent, so it gave up the western part of Redmond and part of Woodinville.

District 4 (Phillips): Added part of Northwest Seattle, Wallingford and Green Lake, lost Eastlake and North Capitol Hill.

District 5 (Julia Patterson): Gained Normandy Park and a southern part of Burien.

District 6 (Jane Hague): Lost part of Kirkland, added part of Redmond.

District 7 (Pete von Reichbauer): No significant change.

District 8 (Joe McDermott): Added parts of SeaTac and Tukwila, plus Seattle’s First Hill, South Capitol Hill and part of downtown; lost Normandy Park and part of Burien.

District 9 (Reagan Dunn): Needed to shed 11,000 residents, which was done on the district’s edges by giving up some of Renton and Kent.

Bob Young: 206-464-2174 or byoung@seattletimes.com

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