Rural Counties Consider Seceding Oregon, Becoming a Part of Idaho

Rural Counties Consider Seceding Oregon, Becoming a Part of Idaho

Five counties in Oregon voted this week to ask officials to consider a proposal to change the state border to move the counties into Idaho.

According to The Guardian, in total, between 18 to 20 Oregon counties are hoping to relocate to Idaho as part of a bid by the Citizens of Greater Idaho. Most of the Oregon counties wanting to move are rural areas.

“The Oregon/Idaho border was established 161 years ago and is now outdated,” Citizens of Greater Idaho said on its website. “It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn’t match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon.”

The five counties of Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker and Malheur counties voted to push the bid ahead. Last year, the counties of Union and Jefferson also voted to ask officials to move their counties into Idaho.

“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” lead petitioner Mike McCarter said in a statement. “If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.”

As part of the change, conservative voters want to reshuffle counties in eastern and southern Oregon and make them part of Idaho. Idaho is largely considered a primarily Republican state. Oregon, meanwhile, is considered a Democratic state.

A change in the borderlines could take a long time, Idaho Gov. Brad Little said. Both state legislatures in Oregon and Idaho would have to approve the change and then the U.S. Congress would also have to pass the proposal.

“I understand why many people want to be Idahoans,” he said in a statement. “They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere and our values … There’s a lot that needs to happen before the border is within the realm of possibility.”

Photo courtesy: Everett McIntire/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.