Conservative Oregon counties plan to secede and join ‘Greater Idaho’
Two conservative counties in eastern Oregon will vote on a ballot measure in November to decide whether to leave one of the nation’s most liberal states and join their western neighbors in a newly redesigned « Greater Idaho. »
The Greater Idaho Movement seeks to make 15 of Oregon’s counties and parts of two others – comprising about two-thirds of Beaver State’s area – part of Idaho.
Supporters of the movement say the largely conservative and sparsely populated eastern counties have much more in common with Republican-run Idaho than with Oregon, whose politics are dominated by densely populated cities in the USA. West state.
“It makes more sense for the people of eastern Oregon to get state-level governance from Idaho, where they share their values, share their culture, share their politics than to be governed by western Oregon, » Greater Idaho spokesman Matt McCaw told Fox News. .
To date, nine of Oregon’s 36 counties have voted in favor of exploring state border changes and two more, Morrow and Wheeler, will vote to approve the idea on Election Day.
In Morrow County, the measure requires the Board of County Commissioners to meet three times a year « to discuss how best to promote the interests of their county in » any negotiations regarding the relocation of the Oregon border. and Idaho. » In Wheeler County, residents will vote to ask Oregon state lawmakers to allocate taxpayer money « to work toward moving Idaho’s border » to include county.
Previous maps had ‘Greater Idaho’ borders extending to the Pacific Ocean, but the proposed border was redrawn after less than 50% of voters in two southwestern Oregon counties voted in favor of leaving, according to Fox News.
« Our fundamental principle is that people deserve to have the kind of government they want that shares their values, » McCaw said. « So we don’t want to drag anybody into something they don’t want. »
In the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump dominated eastern Oregon, winning nearly 80% of the vote in some counties. However, President Joe Biden ultimately won the state with 56.5% of the vote thanks to liberal cities like Portland and Eugene.
Meanwhile, Idaho voted 63.9% for Trump and just 33.1% for Biden.
If all 17 counties approve the measure, they still face many obstacles to actually separating from Oregon and joining Idaho. Both state legislatures and the US Congress are expected to approve the move.
While states have had their borders redrawn in the past, including Massachusetts after Maine seceded in 1820, there is no precedent for huge swaths of a state to fold over and join another existing state. .
There are various logistical obstacles to redrawing state borders, such as different minimum wages and laws such as legalizing marijuana in Oregon.
“How do you mix criminal justice systems and jurisdictions? Where does your tax base come from? Stennett asked. « There’s just a lot of things that aren’t talked about that would need to be fleshed out for that to even be considered. »
Idaho lawmakers have been more open to the proposal. Earlier this year, Idaho Rep. Barbara Ehardt introduced legislation stipulating that lawmakers would continue discussions regarding the border with Oregon.
The resolution notes that Oregon has resources that « would greatly benefit Idaho, » such as timber, minerals and water, Fox reported.
If lawmakers can get together and discuss the issue quickly, McCaw said he’s optimistic the borders could be moved as soon as 2024.
“We have proven that the people of eastern Oregon want to pursue this idea, and we will continue to try to get as many of these counties as possible on the ballot,” a- he declared. « But it’s time for lawmakers to pick up the ball and start this discussion. »