Greater Idaho

Greater Idaho, as envisioned by supporters, would include all of Oregon’s eastern and southwestern counties. This map also shows a potential later expansion to include northern California.

More Oregonians oppose the idea of losing parts of the state to Idaho than support it.

But the margin is narrow, according to a recent survey from the independent nonpartisan Oregon Values and Beliefs Center.

The center reported on the results of its survey this week.

It found 42% of Oregonians think rural counties should not be allowed to ditch Oregon for Idaho. However, 38% said they should be able to make that choice. Twenty percent of respondents said they weren’t sure.

The Greater Idaho proposal is to shift Oregon’s boundary so that the rural Eastern and Southwestern Oregon counties would be in Idaho.

Proponents say Greater Idaho would offer rural Oregonians a more like-minded, conservative state government and lower taxes. Idaho, the argument goes, would benefit from an influx of citizens and its own chunk of beachfront property.

Among the reasons cited by those who opposed Greater Idaho on the survey were pride in being an Oregonian and the value of diverse opinions.

“I am an OREGONIAN. Born and raised; I do not wish to be an Idahoan. OREGON PROUD,” commented one Douglas County woman between 45 and 54 years old who responded to the survey.

Another Douglas County woman, whose age was listed as between 55 and 64, also voiced opposition.

“I think most people are tired of the way Oregon is being run and are looking for a change, but moving boundaries isn’t the way. If you really want to live in Idaho, then move,” she said.

Douglas County residents in November voted 57% to 43% against asking their county commissioners and state legislators to work toward moving the Idaho border to include the county.

Move Oregon’s Border President Mike McCarter has said the group intends to try again in Douglas County. The group, which is the rural Oregon arm of the Greater Idaho movement, hopes to put the issue back on the ballot here by 2022 or earlier.

Overall, rural residents responded more favorably than urban residents, with 43% of rural residents saying voters should be able to approve their county’s move to Idaho, compared to 35% of urban residents.

Thirty-two percent of rural residents said a move was likely compared to 19% of urban residents. Forty percent of rural respondents thought the change would be positive, compared with 30% of urban respondents.

“I feel like those counties would get out from under the heel of the liberal policies that are choking the state of Oregon since the lawmakers have no idea what life is like in the rural areas, all they care about are their constituents in the major metropolitan areas such as Portland, Bend, and Salem,” said one supporter, a Wasco County man 30 to 44 years old.

Supporters and opponents agreed on one thing. Almost two-thirds of them, 64%, said it’s unlikely Greater Idaho will actually take place.

“We in these counties are rural, spread out, and low average incomes. The taxes required to maintain and improve the infrastructure required for such vast and lowly populated areas can’t be generated by the population in these counties alone. Where will Idaho get the additional resources? If from these counties, the tax rates will skyrocket,” said a Baker County woman between 65 and 74.

Older Oregonians seemed more certain than younger ones that moving Oregon’s border would be a bad idea.

More than half of Oregonians 75 and older said the move would be negative, while just 37% of Oregonians 30 to 44 said the move would be negative.

Oregonians of color were more open to the idea than their white neighbors, with 42% of Oregonians of color in favor compared to 38% of white Oregonians.

People with six-figure incomes were more likely to expect a negative outcome than those with lower incomes.

Among the concerns voiced by opponents were that state taxes and fees would increase and that eastern Oregon wouldn’t receive the state spending it does now, funded by the more affluent western metropolitan areas.

Move Oregon’s Border announced Monday that Harney County will vote on a Greater Idaho measure in November.

Voters in seven Oregon counties have voted in favor of the idea. Voters in Wallowa County rejected a ballot measure on the subject in May.

Move Oregon’s Border is also collecting signatures for proposed ballot measures in Curry, Josephine, Klamath, Morrow and Umatilla counties.

In some other counties, where ballot petitions have been rejected, the group is asking county commissioners to refer measures to voters.

None of the measures would actually determine whether the counties will join Idaho in the future. Ultimately, that decision would have to be made by the two states’ legislatures and by Congress.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(16) comments

CitizenJoe

I'm skeptical of the survey methods of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center: voluntary, on-line, non-random, often small samples, and general lack of rigor and transparency, along with general sloppiness: "Partisanship, pandemic and a mini recession take their tole...."

But, hey, if you want them to pay you for your opinion, you can go to:

https://oregonvbc.org/faqs/

dejadoodoo

Face it, this is a strange concept to begin with...the concept that a group of people could actually request to change the ground under their feet to be some other state. The big steps would outline something like this:

1. Prove the people within the designated boundaries WANT to defect.

2. Visit the courts.

3. Acquire agreement from current state.

4. Visit the courts.

5. Acquire adoption by the "desired" state.

6. Visit the courts.

7. Acquire agreement from the Federal Government.

8. Visit the courts.

9. Visit more courts.

10. Visit the Supreme Court (and it won't be the last court, either).

Seriously, find something constructive to do with our time.

mworden

Don't forget: Follow the Constitution of the United States, particularly Article 4, Section 3.

Article IV

Section 3

Clause 1

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Momos

You forgot question #2:

"Are you willing to take a large cut in minimum wage and start paying a sales tax in order to join Idaho?"

Umpquabob

What's the difference. We now pay a privilege tax to buy a car less than 5 yrs old, tax on property, gas, utilities, cell phones, etc.. Companies, even little ones, pay a "CAT" tax to be able to do business. The Blumen congressman from Portland wants to tax space travel. And, our Governor hired a buddy to find new places to tax the citizens. Even with the excess revenues, the Governator and crew want to end the "Kicker", grab more money from the lottery (illegal?) to fund freebie giveaways, and smooze the Prez and Pelosi for more free money. And where does it go? Undocumented persons, homeless persons, never-ending studies by overpaid PHd's who know how to write grants and vote DEM, backroom payouts. A little sales tax isn't any worse than 'death by a thousand' little taxes, which is currently occurring. Lower minimum wage? Yeah, right. I don't think so. That's a scare tactic which probably won't go anywhere.

Momos

1. Open Google. Or have someone help you with this.

2. Type in "Oregon minimum wage". Hit Enter. Read. Write it down.

3. Clear Google search.

4. Type in "Idaho minimum wage". Hit Enter. Read. Write it down.

5. Compare the two numbers. One is much lower than the other. Understand?

6. A 6% sales tax adds up pretty quickly, especially after taking a wage cut. They also pay other taxes and fees, just like us. Or do you really think you're going to be exempt from all that?

Scomo

Those who opposed the concept of moving Idaho’s borders into Oregon counties claimed that they valued diverse opinions. Typical liberal schmucks, they claim they favor diversity, but oppose it when it doesn’t suit them.

mworden

57 percent of Douglas County voters nixed the idea in the high turnout November 2020 election. I doubt that 57 percent of Douglas County voters are schmucks I know for a fact there aren't that many liberals schmucks here.

Scomo

Unfortunately, you’re wrong. My understanding of the demographics of DC is that at least 30% are libs. And, a good chunk of the 70% that are not, are too apathetic to vote. Maybe we can turn out enough true conservatives in the next election to beat down that 57% who are closet libs.

mworden

Actually, 2020 had one of the biggest voter turnouts in history. That's a fact.

According to the Douglas County Clerk's Office, Trump received 43,298 votes and Biden got 19,160. Third party candidates garnered several thousand more votes. It looks neither apathetic nor liberal. The conservatives turned out in droves, giving Trump a two-thirds majority here and Dallas Heard and Gary Leif both received around 70% of the votes. And 57% voted against joining Idaho. Closet libs don't vote for Trump, Heard or Leif.

Looks like many conservative voters were against the idea of joining Idaho. Together conservatives, moderates and liberals in large numbers said no to Idaho. It wasn't even close.

https://sos.oregon.gov/elections/Documents/results/november-general-2020.pdf

https://douglascounty-oregon.us/189/Election-Results

Mike

That won't prevent the Commissioners from using taxpayers money to put it on the upcoming ballot again in hope for a different result.

mworden

Mike, I expect it to be on a May election ballot when voter turnout is traditionally low. Hope I'm wrong.

Mike

Agreed.

NJ

Here's what diversity means: "1. the state of being diverse; variety.

"there was considerable diversity in the style of the reports"; 2. - the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc." What is doesn't mean is political differences, the kind where one's political convictions are used as fuel to instigate hate and division. You're unhappy? Lashing out? Go talk with someone who can help you figure out why.

Scomo

I didn’t see that the word opinion was excluded from the initial definition. The “state” of being diverse surely includes one’s outlook on life or in other words, one’s opinion. And why are you so angry? I’m not in any way unhappy, but it would appear from your comment that you hahbah much resentment and political rage. Have you considered counseling?

NJ

I wouldn't expect any other response from you.

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