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Another Oregon county looks to join Idaho

'Greater Idaho': Some Oregon residents petition to join Idaho by moving border
Posted at 10:02 AM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 19:07:38-04

BURNS, Ore.  — Another rural, conservative county in Oregon has expressed interest in becoming part of Idaho.

The OregonianLive reports that voters in Harney County on Tuesday approved a ballot measure that requires local officials to hold meetings about moving the county into Idaho. The measure passed with more than 63% of the vote.

Oregon border relocation.PNG

Harney County became the eighth of Oregon’s 36 counties to vote for considering adjusting Oregon’s border to put much of rural eastern and southern Oregon in Idaho. These ballot initiatives are non-binding. If Idaho and Oregon were to negotiate a border adjustment, the U.S. Congress would have to sign off on it.

"It just continues to send a message up to the--both the legislatures that rural Oregon people are fired up about changing who governs them," Mike McCarter with Greater Idaho said.

The other counties that have voted for a similar initiative are Baker, Grant, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Sherman and Union.

McCarter said one common misconception is that the residents of the counties wanting to join Idaho don't have the same beliefs and values as Idahoans.

"We want to come alongside Idahoans because we feel that we're closer to their conservative values than Northwest Oregon by far," he said.

Greater Idaho becoming a reality is still a long way off. Each of the steps below would have to take place for the Idaho/Oregon border to officially be changed.

How would Moving Oregon's border work?
The process to officially move Oregon's border.

“I'll be curious to see how this greater Idaho movement plays out. If it's successful, then I think we'll see a greater New York, a greater California, and maybe we'll just have big regional spots of the country instead of 50. states,” Shaakirra Sanders, a constitutional law professor at the University of Idaho College of Law said.

When Greater Idaho presented its case to the Idaho Legislature in April, McCarter didn't have answers to questions about details like how much of the land is federal land and the cost of prisons in those counties.

He said Greater Idaho feels that details like that should be part of discussions during the process.

McCarter also said there's an economic impact study being done by an independent company right now. He said he can't sure the name of the company or any details about the study yet, but said it should be done in February or March.