Harney County Commissioners Elevate Greater Idaho issue to Legislature

Harney County Commissioners sent a letter to Oregon state Sen. Lynn Findley and state Rep. Mark Owens last week notifying them that Harney County citizens have “requested to have our State Senator and District Representative acknowledge the desire for the State of Oregon’s border to be moved and investigate the possibility of Harney County and other Oregon counties to join with the State of Idaho.”  

Harney county citizens gathered enough signatures to force a special election on this “Greater Idaho” proposal in November 2021. The county voted 63% in favor and 37% opposed to the ballot measure.  Seven other counties of eastern Oregon had already approved similar ballot initiatives.  Next month, three counties of southern Oregon will vote on the issue: Klamath, Douglas, and Josephine counties.

The Harney County “Court” is the third board of commissioners to send a letter to their state senator and state representative about this issue, after the boards of Grant County and Lake County did so.  The Baker County Board of Commissioners is planning to approve a letter to the same legislators on Wednesday, May 4, according to the movement’s website, greateridaho.org.

“The location of state borders is arbitrary,” said Mike McCarter, leader of the Greater Idaho movement. “The current location of the Oregon/Idaho border doesn’t match the real cultural boundary. The majority of southern and eastern Oregon votes for conservative governance like Idaho has. It’s better to move the border than to ask all of those half a million Oregonians to move to Idaho.”

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