The Greater Idaho movement submitted a petition this week that, according to Oregon law, could force a ballot initiative onto the May 2023 Wallowa County ballot. If enough of the signatures on the petition are found to be valid, as expected, the County Clerk must award the measure a spot on the county ballot. The movement has until mid-February to make up for any shortfall.
So far, eleven eastern Oregon counties have voted for the movement’s ballot measures. The movement proposes to add fifteen conservative, rural counties to Idaho by convincing the state legislatures of Oregon and Idaho to move the border.
The purpose of the initiatives is to show state legislators that voters want them to begin talks with Idaho to move the border, according to the movement’s website greateridaho.org . The movement’s volunteers are asking Oregon Senate president nominee Rob Wagner to allow a hearing on their bill in January. The bill would invite Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on the potential of moving the border. A January 2022 SurveyUSA poll showed that 68% of northwestern Oregon voters thought that the Oregon Legislature should hold hearings on the idea, and only 20% opposed.
The poll also found that a mere three percent of such voters think keeping eastern and southern Oregon in the state is worth the cost. The movement estimates the cost at $500 per northwestern Oregonian wage earner annually.
“Two major statewide ballot measures got 51% of the vote last month. That means eastern Oregon came within one percentage point of vetoing them. Western Oregon would be free of our interference if they stopped holding eastern Oregon captive and let our communities join Idaho” said Matt McCaw, spokesman for the Greater Idaho movement.
“If Oregon had let Harney County go when it voted for our measure, then a Harney County judge wouldn’t have blocked Oregon’s gun control initiative from going into effect statewide. Now his injunction might stand for a couple years while he decides the case. Harney County is ranchland, and Portland is not. It doesn’t make sense for these two cultures to be dictating policy to each other,” he said.
News media: uncopyrighted photos regarding the movement are here: https://www.greateridaho.org/uncopyrighted-photos-for-use-by-media/