Eastern Oregon Wants A Divorce: County-By-County Initiative Underway To Join Idaho

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Several counties in eastern Oregon have mounted an initiative to move the state’s border, making them part of the neighboring state of Idaho.

Citing a very different culture, citizens in the more rural eastern counties of Oregon said that the laws passed in Salem, heavily influenced by the progressive urban center of Portland, have been at best unhelpful to their families and their way of life — and their solution, it seems, is to flip several of the more conservative counties into Idaho, moving the state’s border.


Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse explained the initiative during a Tuesday morning segment of “America’s Newsroom.”

“They live in the same state but different worlds with conservatives in rural Oregon wanting a divorce from the liberals in Portland. Make part of it Idaho,” La Jeunesse explained, noting that those in favor of the move had taken a smart tack by going from county to county rather than attempting a statewide initiative. (RELATED: ‘Rural Lives Matter’: Parade Of Tractors, Trucks Surround Oregon Capitol In Support Of Republicans)

“So far two counties have approved. Douglas and Josephine,” he said, adding that the measure would still have to be approved by not just Oregon’s and Idaho’s lawmakers but U.S. Congress as well.

“Supporters say this is not about politics, conservative versus liberal, but lifestyle and values,” La Jeunesse continued. “They see the culture in Idaho more closely aligned with theirs, quoting, ‘Rural counties have been increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon legislature and threaten our livelihoods, our industries, out gun rights, and our values. We try voting those legislators out of rural Oregon. However, Rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voice is ignored. This is our last resort.'”

The initiative is being pushed by a group called Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, and according to one of the group’s leaders, Mike McCarter, the plan is gaining momentum on the ground.

“It takes a lot of oomph to get something like this started. I call it a peaceful revolution,” McCarter told Oregon Live. “Our approach is to go county by county rather than a state initiative. We want people [in the counties that would move to Idaho] to chime in and say, ‘Yes, we want this.’ It takes more work to go county by county, but it informs the public more.”

“How often do you have the opportunity to be part of a movement to make things better for people?” McCarter concluded, adding, “We are dealing with our liberty.”