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Idaho Lawmakers Consider Proposal To Absorb Oregon Counties

Chris Agee
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Residents across much of eastern Oregon have grown increasingly disillusioned by the leftist policies of Portland and other northwestern communities. In response, the so-called Greater Idaho movement has gained traction in a grassroots effort across at least 11 counties to secede from the state and join its neighbor.

Now, Idaho lawmakers are reportedly on board to at least discuss the issue with members of Oregon’s state legislature. 

For her part, GOP Idaho state Rep. Judy Boyle is in favor of absorbing the counties as part of her ongoing push to reduce the amount of illegal drugs coming into her state from Oregon, which has much looser laws regulating narcotics.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, also a Republican, sees another upside for Idaho: adding the vast natural resources contained in the land mass that would be added to her state.

Although Idaho is a predominantly Republican-led state, Democrats in the state legislature have expressed their opposition to even discussing the Greater Idaho plan.

House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, for example, insisted that lawmakers “should not be self-segregating by ideology like this.”

She claimed that the nation would be “on a path to civil war” if plans like this one were allowed to flourish.

“We have got to learn to get along better and work together better,” Rubel said. “The answer cannot be to carve up the country and redraw lines that have been in place for a century or more just so we can only be surrounded by people that perfectly agree with us.”

The Greater Idaho movement applauded Idaho’s willingness to consider the proposal and called on Oregon lawmakers to similarly provide a hearing.

“Unlike any other bill, our Oregon bill SJM 2 is supported by the votes of 11 counties, and a poll a year ago showed that 68% of northwestern Oregonian voters want their officials to look into the idea,” a press release asserted. “Eastern Oregon deserves a chance to present this proposal to Oregon state leaders.”

Citizens for Greater Idaho President Mike McCarver has maintained his focus on the longshot proposal, writing in 2021: “The aspirations of Portland-area and northwestern Oregon voters force the state government toward a direction that happens to be incompatible with the values and livelihoods of my town and many in eastern and southern Oregon.”