Two more Oregon counties vote to join Greater Idaho

Two other counties in eastern Oregon reportedly voted for the Greater Idaho movement.

Its purpose is to persuade state legislatures to move the Oregon-Idaho border and turn conservative Oregon counties into Idaho counties.

In a press release Wednesday, the movement said it saw victory in Morrow and Wheeler counties, receiving 60% and 58% of the vote that morning, respectively.

Its website showed that May election results in all three counties that voted on the issue improved 4 percentage points after election night, reflecting slow counting in the state’s elections and the tendency of supporters to vote on to vote on election day.


The Movement for Greater Idaho noted that it has already won elections in 11 of the 15 counties proposed to join the state — and has enough signatures to vote in Wallowa County.

She argued that she doesn’t need votes in every county because election results show every county in eastern Oregon would approve the measure.

Crook and Gilliam county officials, the movement said, have refused to allow signature collections and commissioners in those counties, and Umatilla has not yet agreed to put an advisory question on the ballot on the issue.

Wheeler County, Oregon

Wheeler County, Oregon
((Photo by: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images))

The movement, citing Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher’s victory over Democrat Rich Walsh, as reported by The Oregonian, said it aims to pass a resolution in the next sessions of both legislatures that will open discussions between state leaders about postponing the border would invite.

Mike McCarter, the leader of the movement, said he hopes lawmakers will give the issue a hearing in December.

“We urge lawmakers to let each half of the state go their own way in peace. If western Oregon doesn’t like the risk of being forced to accept the gubernatorial nominee it voted against, then it should just stop trapping our counties in this unhappy marriage. Actually it’s not even as dramatic as a divorce because we don’t break up a family. Moving a state line is akin to reallocating a utility company,” McCarter said.


“The movement is pure and simple and it’s all about values, not politics,” Jonathan Tallman, 46, a farmer from Boardman, Oregon, told the New York Post on Thursday. “We’re not referring to people in downtown Portland trying to force their agenda on us.”

Tallman said he doesn’t feel safe going to Portland.

The downtown skyline and Broadway Bridge are viewed in the early morning of February 11, 2012 in Portland, Oregon.

The downtown skyline and Broadway Bridge are viewed in the early morning of February 11, 2012 in Portland, Oregon.
((Photo by George Rose/Getty Images))

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan shared some of his concerns, losing to Democratic challenger Tina Kotek.

In 2021, several rural, conservative counties voted to consider becoming part of Idaho.

However, if Idaho and Oregon negotiated a border adjustment, the US Congress would have to approve in addition to the Oregon and Idaho legislatures.

The plan would create the nation’s third-largest state geographically.


Idaho Gov. Brad Little is seen in a file photo.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little is seen in a file photo.
((Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

The movement also says areas that “choose like Idaho and are economically sound enough to be welcomed by Idaho” include southeast Washington and northeast California.

In April last year, Democratic Idaho Sen. Michelle Stennett — who represents an area including the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley — wondered about the logistics, including cutting Idaho’s minimum wage.

“They look at Idaho with affection because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere, and our values,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said last year, according to The Seattle Times. “There is still a lot to be done before a border shift is within the realm of possibility.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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