Voters support moving Idaho-Oregon stateline west
A total of seven Oregon counties now looking to join Idaho
Last updated 5/19/2021 at 5:46pm
VALE, Ore. - First there were two. Now, there are seven.
During Tuesday's special election, voters in Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman counties approved of efforts to realign the Oregon-Idaho border to the west as the first step in joining Idaho.
They join Jefferson and Union counties in supporting the "Greater Idaho" effort.
Last November, voters in Jefferson and Union counties approved ballot measures calling on their officials to study seceding from Oregon and merging with Idaho.
Oregon only has 36 counties and two more – Harney and Douglas – are expected to see similar ballot measures.
Voters like realignment idea
In Tuesday's election, 54.3% of Malheur County voters supported the border realignment. Baker County voters supported a similar measure with 57% of the vote.
Both counties share a border with Idaho.
Grant County abuts Baker. There, 62.2% of voters approved a proposal mandating county officials "meet and discuss" realignment.
Further west in Central Oregon, Lake County shares a border with California and Sherman County is just across the Columbia River from Washington state, east of The Dalles, Ore.
Despite the distance to Idaho, 74.3% of Lake County voters and 62.3% of Sherman County voters approved of efforts to move the stateline west of them.
The effort of rural residents and governments seeking autonomy from metropolitan areas of the West is nothing new.
In rural Eastern Washington, efforts to carve out a separate state predate statehood. The current effort is pushing for creation of the 51st state, Liberty.
Rural California and Colorado voters, too, have tried to divorce themselves from urban control. Both states have had ballot measures in which some areas have supported separate statehood.
The Northern California effort to create the state of Jefferson dates back to 1949.