BOISE — If some Oregon residents get their way, Idaho could see a growth spurt.
A group of residents in southwestern Oregon created a petition to move Idaho’s border west to include part of their state, NBC5 News reported. It’s part of the “Greater Idaho” project, which would allow some Oregon counties to join a state that more closely aligns with their political preferences, they say.
Proponents say the “swaths of conservative, pro-Trump, anti-tax voters” in rural parts of Oregon have more in common with Idaho, and they want to claim it as their own state, The News-Review reported.
It’s a complicated, multi-step process that would require local ballot measures and state and federal approval. The group hopes to eventually consume all but 14 of Oregon’s 36 counties, according to a news release on the Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho Facebook page.
The counties that would stay in Oregon would be mostly in the wine-rich Williamette Valley, according to the news release.
“Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values,” Mike McCarter, one of the chief petitioners, said in a news release. “We tried voting those legislators out but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort.”
The group filed petitions with the Douglas and Josephine county clerk’s offices for a local ballot measure that would ask if the county should instead become a county of Idaho, The News-Review said. They still need to get the necessary signatures, but it could still make it on the ballot in November.
Even if the county’s voters like the idea of being part of Idaho, both of the states’ legislatures and the U.S. Congress would need to approve the change, according to The News-Review.
If the initial movement is successful, the Greater Idaho project would like to bring parts of northern California into Idaho, according to the news release.
“People here would prefer Idaho’s conservative governance to the progressive/liberal current Oregon governance,” Valerie Gottschalk, another chief petitioner said in a news release. “Every time I look at … Greater Idaho, the group has gotten bigger.”
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