The Puyallup City Council will take a look next month at some options for changing its district boundaries, including moving to an at-large system.
It’s an issue that two years ago drew contentious debate.
“Every time we talk about districts it gets very personal,” said Mayor Kathy Turner on Tuesday.
The council discussed redistricting during its regular meeting but didn’t make any decisions or reach a consensus. By the end of the year, the city must prepare a plan for incorporating 2010 Census figures into its district boundaries. Any decisions won’t affect people running for election in the fall.
Council members Tuesday asked staff to bring back some options for further discussion.
Right now, the city has three geographic districts, with two council members elected from each one. The seventh council position is at-large, elected by all city voters.
Puyallup gained 4,000 people in the last 10 years and now has more than 37,000 residents.
The city’s central district, called District 2, has about 13,500 people. It’s bracketed roughly by Pioneer, State Route 512 and 23rd Avenue Southeast.
The city’s other two districts – District 1 to the north and District 3 to the south – both have fewer than 12,000 residents.
State guidelines say districts should be roughly the same size, as compact as possible and follow natural boundaries when feasible.
Two years ago, the council looked at redistricting after the West Hills area was annexed. Discussion grew tense, with accusations of gerrymandering.
The idea of moving to an at-large system was suggested, but was met with opposition from the public. About 100 people attended a council meeting where it was discussed, with 25 people taking to the microphone to speak against.
The council ended up shooting the proposal down.
Three years before that, more than 1,700 signatures were gathered against a proposal to add more at-large positions.
The council will discuss the district boundaries at its June 7 meeting.