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Oregon bill introduced to merge 15 counties to Idaho

September 11, 2023

A bill inviting Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on the potential to relocate the state line they share was read on the floor of the Oregon Senate on Monday. The bill, SJM 2, became public along with other pre-session filed bills. It states “we, the members of the 82nd Legislative Assembly stand ready to begin discussions regarding the potential to relocate the Oregon/Idaho border, and invite the Idaho Legislature, the Governor of Idaho, the Governor of Oregon to begin talks on this topic with this Legislative Assembly.”

The bill notes that, of the 15 rural, conservative counties of eastern Oregon that are proposed to become parts of Idaho, eleven have already approved ballot measures indicating voter support. It notes that Oregon slightly relocated its border with Washington in 1958.

The bill lists several reasons that the Democrat majority of the Oregon Legislature should want to relocate the boundary: support for the self-determination of the people of eastern Oregon, financial benefits of offloading eastern Oregon and concern about the interference of conservative eastern Oregon into the progressive politics of western Oregon.

Today, the Wallowa County Clerk notified the Greater Idaho movement that it has submitted enough valid signatures to force its ballot initiative onto the May 2023 Wallowa County ballot. She awarded the initiative a measure number: 32-007.

So far, 11 eastern Oregon counties have voted for the movement’s ballot measures. The movement proposes to add 15 conservative rural counties to Idaho by convincing the state legislatures of Oregon and Idaho to move their common state line.

Matt McCaw, the movement’s spokesman, said “eastern Oregon is mostly ranchland, and Portland is not. It doesn't make sense for these two cultures to be dictating policy to each other. Portland voters forced a gun control measure on the whole state, although eastern Oregon voters almost defeated it. And then an eastern Oregon judge blocked it. His injunction might stand for a couple years while he decides the case. If Oregon had let Grant and Harney counties go when they requested to join Idaho, then their judge wouldn't have blocked an Oregon measure."

McCaw called on the new President of the Oregon Senate, Rob Wagner, to allow a hearing on their bill in January. The bill, SJM 2, invites Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on the potential of moving the border. A January 2022 SurveyUSA poll showed that 68-percent of northwestern Oregon voters thought that the Oregon Legislature should hold hearings on the idea and only 20-percent were opposed.

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Mike Weland, Publisher

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