Voters in a 12th county in Oregon voted recently that they wanted to join the “Greater Idaho” movement that would see a large swath of Oregon break away and join neighboring Idaho.
Results from the special election in Wallowa County were just finalized on Tuesday, even though the vote was held in May. The final vote was very close, though it avoided the requirement in Oregon that would mandate a recount.
This movement started back in 2020 as an idea that would see large portions of rural Oregon in the eastern part of the state actually secede so they could join Idaho, which is a much more conservative state and aligns better with its ideals than the ultra-liberal urban and suburban areas located in the western part of Oregon.
In fact, Portland, Oregon, is considered one of the most progressive cities in the entire country. It’s that progressive nature that is what voters in the conservative eastern part of the state don’t like, since their voices ultimately are hardly heard since there aren’t as many people in the east as there are in the west.
After Wallowa County officially passed the measure to join the “Greater Idaho” movement, all 12 counties that have held votes on the matter have passed it.
In the last few years, a proposal has been put forward in the Idaho legislature that would formally open talks between Idaho and Oregon about redrawing the two states’ borders. However, support for that proposal has been split straight down party lines. Republicans are behind the idea, while Democrats naturally oppose it.
Back in March, Melissa Wintrow – the Democratic minority leader in the Idaho state Senate – told Fox News Digital:
“I’m very pleased this measure has virtually no chance of advancing into reality. It would be bad for all involved and bad for the country, and I am opposed to it at all levels.”
On the other side of that debate was Idaho state Representative Judy Boyle, a Republican who said in March:
“I am supportive of the Greater Idaho idea. I have lived along the Oregon border my entire life, so have many east Oregon friends. They have been quite frustrated with the liberal I-5 western Oregon corridor running their state and completely ignoring their values and needs.”
Hypothetically speaking, if the Greater Idaho proposal ended up passing, Idaho would see a 21% increase in its state population. The Claremont Institute also said that if the state line were to be moved, the Idaho state government could benefit by up to $170 million.
The first step in any hypothetical redrawing of state lines would be for both the Oregon and Idaho state legislatures agreeing on a measure and then approving it. If that happens, then the U.S. Congress would need to approve the plan.
Of course, all of that is very, very unlikely to happen.
There are 15 western Oregon counties that were originally listed in the Greater Idaho proposal. Crook County will become the 13th county to vote on the measure, which is scheduled for May of 2024.
The only two other counties that haven’t set up a vote on the measure just yet are Gilliam County and Umatilla County.