In Rural Oregon, a 'Last Resort' for Conservative Residents

Group steps up push to have nearly 2 dozen counties become part of 'Greater Idaho'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2020 8:42 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2020 1:30 PM CDT
In Rural Oregon, a 'Last Resort' for Conservative Residents
A rendering of what the new "Greater Idaho" might look like if all goes as planned.   (Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, via CNN)

At the moment, Oregon is a blue state, with a Democratic governor and both houses of its Legislature led by a Democratic majority. But in the southwestern part of the state, rural conservatives are standing up for their stances on everything from religious freedom to gun ownership, and some of them want to take a drastic measure to ensure their values are upheld: They hope nearly two dozen Oregon counties can become part of neighboring Idaho. McClatchy reports that, due to the pandemic, septuagenarian Mike McCarter, the president of the "Move Oregon's Border for a Greater Idaho" group, has filed a federal lawsuit asking for a reduction in the number of signatures required to get a referendum added to November's county ballots on the border shift. "Rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored," McCarter says in a release. "This is our last resort."

If the group is able to get a referendum going for November, and Oregonians then vote in support of the change in their respective counties, their push to become part of Idaho would still also require the OK of both states' legislatures, as well as that of the US Congress. The hard sell may be to conservative Idahoans, who the Washington Post notes haven't been keen on their liberal neighbors infiltrating. And McCarter has acknowledged the entire process would likely take years even if everything goes the way he's hoping, per CNN. Still, he's looking ahead to the future, with his eye on another state as well: He says the second phase of his plan would be to pull parts of Northern California into "Greater Idaho." "Rural people and rural counties no longer have a voice," a supporter says, per the Post. "If this turns out to be the shortest route to liberty and representation, I'll give it a go." (More Oregon stories.)

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