5 Oregon Counties to Vote on Joining Idaho

February 25, 2021 Updated: February 25, 2021

Five Oregon counties will ask voters during the next election whether they want to leave the state and join Idaho.

“Oregon is a powder keg because counties that belong in a red state like Idaho are ruled by Portlanders,” said Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border, in a statement to news outlets.

Voters in Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and Sherman counties in Oregon will decide in May if they want to move forward with moving the state’s border, he said.

“It is not a vote to secede from Oregon because a county can’t do that,” McCarter told KTVB. “It’s a measure that says, ‘County commissioners, your citizens of your county want to see you work towards this process.”

McCarter said residents of those counties are unhappy with Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 restrictions, Antifa-related violence in Portland, and the state’s legislative bias against rural Oregon counties while prioritizing Portland.

“This state protects Antifa arsonists, not normal Oregonians, it prioritizes one race above another for vaccines and program money and in the school curriculum, and it prioritizes Willamette Valley above rural Oregon,” McCarter said, according to The Washington Times.

The initiative has significant hurdles to overcome since Oregon’s state Assembly and Senate—which are both controlled by Democrats—would first have to approve it. After that, the U.S. House and Senate—also controlled by Democrats—would have to approve the measure.

While opponents have said that residents in those areas should just move to Idaho, McCarter said it isn’t so simple—or even possible for some residents.

“We love our communities. We’re tied into them,” he said. “It’s just the state government that we can’t stand.”

McCarter told KTVB that the chances of passage are slim but he remains hopeful.

“The misconceptions are out there, that we want to come in, that we want to change this and we want to change that; we don’t want to change anything with Idaho,” he said. “We just want to come alongside the rural counties. All of a sudden we’re adding a 71 percent population increase without a single Oregonian moving into the current state of Idaho. That’s a boom for the state economy.”

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said in December 2020 that the Move Oregon’s Border, or Greater Idaho, campaign concerns him.

“I don’t think we would, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act like it wouldn’t happen, because if we act like it, then maybe we’ll really sit down and really think real hard about this rural-urban divide,” Courtney, a Democrat, told local station KATU-TV.

According to McCarter in the Washington Times interview, the group has had to contend with Big Tech companies as well. Facebook removed the Move Oregon’s Border page, which had more than 12,000 followers, although the group has accounts on Twitter, Gab, Parler, and Telegram.

“We don’t know why because Facebook won’t show us the six posts it claims violated their standards,” the group stated.