Residents of two rural Oregon counties voted in the Nov. 3 election to require their county officials to begin considering what would be involved in seceding from Oregon by moving neighboring Idaho’s border.
Oregon’s swing to the left in recent years has left many Oregonians uncomfortable as state officials such as Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has enforced what they consider to be excessively strict policies aimed at combating the CCP virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
Many conservatives and other residents feel ignored and have become disenchanted with local officials including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a far-left Democrat, who they say has failed to crack down on political violence by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Changing state borders is a complex task. The legislatures of both states and the U.S. Congress would have to consent.
But the victory of the grassroots group Move Oregon’s Border in Jefferson and Union Counties is just the beginning of what promises to be a long, involved process. The group is also hoping to bring some counties in liberal California along with it to become part of Idaho, a state that has voted for the Republican candidate for president in every election since 1968. The group calls the proposed, expanded state Greater Idaho.
“The idea of joining Idaho is new to Oregon voters and they need more time to learn that Idaho taxes are lower, even with all taxes considered, and that Idaho law respects traditional values in many ways that Oregon law does not,” Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border, said in a statement.
“The friction between conservatives and the Left in Oregon and California will continue to increase as their expectations diverge, so moving the border will eventually be seen as the necessary, peaceful solution to this problem. The reaction of Oregon government to the execution of Trump supporter ‘Jay’ Danielson in Portland shows that they will not protect people who are not on their leftist team. This is not a sustainable situation.”
McCarter was referring to Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a member of the conservative group Patriot Prayer who was shot dead Aug. 29 during a car and truck rally in Portland, in support of President Donald Trump. Danielson was allegedly killed by Michael Forest Reinoehl, an Antifa supporter, who was killed near Lacey, Washington, on Sept. 3 while fleeing a federal fugitive task force.
Reinoehl, a white man, had a neck tattoo of a black fist representing the Black Lives Matter movement, and referred to himself as “100% Antifa” in social media posts, the Seattle Times previously reported.
Brown reacted to the shooting of Danielson by ignoring the violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter supporters, and instead, attacked Patriot Prayer and “armed white supremacists” for bringing “more bloodshed to our streets.”
“Change will not come overnight, and, as we have seen in these last months, it does not come easily either. But we are building a more just future. I will continue to work with local leaders, law enforcement, and community leaders to bring all voices to the table to help end the nightly confrontations—but that will only come if we commit ourselves to do the hard work to bring about real change and racial justice.”
As of press time, the voters of two Oregon counties approved the ballot question, while voters in two other counties rejected it.
According to the Oregon secretary of state’s website, ballot measures were approved in Jefferson County (Yes 50.9 percent; No 49.1 percent) and Union County (Yes 52.4 percent; No 47.6 percent). The propositions were defeated in Douglas County (Yes 43.27 percent; No 56.73 percent) and Wallowa County (Yes 49.54 percent; No 50.46 percent).
McCarter said he’s optimistic that the two wins will encourage Idaho officials “to quantify the pros and cons of moving the border so that we can improve the quality of the debate on this issue.”
Idaho would benefit from the admission of rural Oregon counties which “have a higher income per person than Idaho does, so our counties would be a benefit to Idaho’s state budget.”
“Rural Oregon votes almost exactly the same as Idaho does, so there should be no concerns in Idaho,” he said, adding that state lawmakers from both states have agreed to meet with Move Oregon’s Border.
The group is collecting signatures in hopes of putting secession-discussion questions on the ballot in local elections in 11 counties in May 2021.