A bill inviting Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on the potential to relocate the state line they share was read on the floor of the Oregon Senate yesterday. Oregon state senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath County) is the lead sponsor, and the initial cosponsors are Senator Brian Boquist (R – Dallas) and Rep. Werner Reschke (R – Klamath County). Freshman Representative Emily McIntire (R – Eagle Point), sworn in yesterday, has indicated to leaders of the Greater Idaho movement that she will sign on as a cosponsor when House rules allow.
The bill, SJM 2, became public yesterday along with other pre-session filed bills. It states “we, the members of the 82nd Legislative Assembly stand ready to begin discussions regarding the potential to relocate the Oregon/Idaho border, and invite the Idaho Legislature, the Governor of Idaho, the Governor of Oregon to begin talks on this topic with this Legislative Assembly.”
The bill notes that, of the 15 rural, conservative counties of eastern Oregon that are proposed to become parts of Idaho, eleven have already approved ballot measures indicating support. It notes that Oregon slightly relocated its border with Washington in 1958.
The bill lists several reasons that the Democrat majority of the Oregon Legislature should want to relocate the boundary: support for the self-determination of the people of eastern Oregon, financial benefits of offloading eastern Oregon, and concern about the interference of (conservative) eastern Oregon into the (progressive) politics of western Oregon.
The bill states that eastern Oregon is an economic drain on Oregon’s state budget because of the high income taxes paid by the Portland area. The bill also references a poll that found that only 3% of the voters of northwestern Oregon are willing to pay what it costs to have rural regions of Oregon included in the Oregon state budget. The movement estimates the cost is over $500 per northwestern Oregonian wage earner annually.
Along with all other bills filed prior to the beginning of the legislative session, the bill now lies on the desk of the new President of the Senate, Rob Wagner. According to rules approved yesterday, any progress on a Senate bill requires his approval. The Greater Idaho movement’s website greateridaho.org calls on him to allow their bill to get a hearing. Spokesman for the Greater Idaho movement, Matt McCaw pointed to the same January 2022 SurveyUSA poll that showed that 68% of northwestern Oregon voters thought that the Oregon Legislature should hold hearings on the idea, and only 20% opposed.
“Portland voters forced a gun control measure on the whole state, although eastern Oregon voters almost defeated it. And then an eastern Oregon judge blocked it. His injunction might stand for a couple years while he decides the case. If Oregon had let Grant and Harney counties go when they requested to join Idaho, then their judge wouldn’t have blocked an Oregon measure. Grant and Harney counties are ranchland, and Portland is not. It doesn’t make sense for these two cultures to be dictating policy to each other,” he said.
Note: parts of the Oregon Legislature’s website were inoperable at the time of this release but can be expected to be repaired soon.
Uncopyrighted photos regarding the movement are here: https://www.greateridaho.org/uncopyrighted-photos-for-use-by-media/
Read the backgrounder for the Greater Idaho movement: www.greateridaho.org/backgrounder-intro-to-greater-idaho