Two Oregon Counties Petition To Join Idaho Over Political Differences

Photo by Terray Sylvester/Getty Images

Alex Corey Contributor
Font Size:

Members of two rural Oregon counties voted to push their lawmakers towards moving their communities to Idaho because they feel the neighboring state is more reflective of their political views.

This is measure is part of a larger movement to create Greater Idaho, a group mainly composed of citizens from Southern and Eastern Oregon, Northern California, and Idaho who wish to be better represented by their state, according to their webpage.

In Jefferson County 51.02% of voters support the measure, while 52.42% of voters in Union County supported it as well, KGW8 reported.

The chances of Jefferson and Union counties leaving Oregon are slim, as it would require votes by both Oregon and Idaho legislatures as well as the U.S. Congress. However, that’s not the immediate goal of these towns, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

A group called Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho is leading the effort to have Oregon’s rural counties secede from the rest of the state and join Idaho. (RELATED: Eastern Oregon Wants A Divorce: County-By-County Initiative Underway To Join Idaho)

Mike McCarter, a retired plant nursery worker and firearms instructor from La Pine who led the petition drive to get on the ballot spoke with OPB to speak about the new momentum behind the measure.

“I’m not really sure what the chances are, if you’re going to put into odds or bet on it,” McCarter told the outlet. “But if we don’t attempt to do something like that we continue to go down a road of frustration about the state legislature not paying attention to rural Oregon.”

McCarter and his supporters have tried for several years to gain traction in their efforts to change Oregon’s border in order to redistribute the state’s more rural and conservative counties to Idaho, according to KGW8.

“Counties cannot legally secede from Oregon without the legislature’s approval,” McCarter told the OPB. “So it was one of the ways that we could get the measure on the ballot, to make it a legislative issue versus an administrative issue.”

He also told OPB they planned on moving forward with 11 other counties in a similar fashion and providing better information to make sure the citizens of Oregon are more aware of the issue.

Wallowa and Douglas counties attempted to bring forward similar measures and failed, but the outcomes in Jefferson and Union counties mean local Oregon officials must start having bi-annual conversations with lawmakers in Idaho, OPB said in their report.