BOISE, Idaho — On Monday, April 12 Mike McCarter with the group Move Oregon's Border came to Idaho to present their case to a joint session of the Senate Resources and Environment Committee and the House Environment, Energy and Technology committee.
"We believe this is the first step of the process to ask the citizens of rural Oregon before asking Oregon's or Idaho's legislature about the process." said McCarter.
The presentation was based on the group’s proposed maps, the status of the county votes in Oregon, and what the group believes would be beneficial to Idaho.
Lawmakers pressed the group for answers to some of their key concerns. "Idaho is 66% federal lands how much of this part of Oregon is federal lands and how much of it is private lands? asked Representative John Vander Woude.
"I thought I would have an answer like this, but I don't" answered McCarter.
"There are 9 federal correctional institutions in Oregon. How many of them would be in the area who is interested in being a part of greater Idaho and do you have a ballpark figure of what the cost is to the state of Oregon?", asked Representative Julie Yamamoto. "That's one of those details again I do not have an answer for." replied McCarter.
Idaho Lawmakers had differing opinions on the joint committee presentation.
"It was disappointing that we would spend time on what is not an idea that not going to help Idaho when have so many other real challenges such as property taxes, fully funding education, our universities, and getting kids ready for school", said Representative Lauren Necochea.
From the beginning, I have been intrigued with this conversation. I believe it is next to impossible to form another state or secede from the union, but moving a boarder is a different obstacle, one that is more easily attained.
As I have been saying all along, why wouldn’t Idaho want to engage in a conversation about increasing our land mass, increasing our resources, increasing our water options, especially for the transporting of goods, increasing our clean power production through hydro, and so much more. Why wouldn’t we want to have a conversation? It’s an intriguing conversation that potentially has many benefits to Idahoans.
Five Oregon counties will vote on this measure in the upcoming May election, including Malheur county. According to its website, Move Oregon's Border will hold a rally in Ontario, Oregon on April 24 at 12 p.m. at Lions Park.