An Introduction to Move Oregon’s Border

The first greater Idaho meeting ever was hosted by Claire O'Sullivan in October 2019 in Grants Pass
Mike McCarter, leader of the Greater Idaho movement, after a rally of 500 people in Roseburg, Oregon March 2020
Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, is a veteran and a former president of the Oregon Agribusiness Council and Oregon Association of Nurserymen. He is a Life Member of the NRA, currently the Committee Co-Chairman of Friends of NRA – La Pine, and a concealed-carry / firearm instructor. He lives in La Pine.

There is a movement taking place throughout Eastern, Central and Southern Oregon called Move Oregon’s Border. This movement was organized in 2019. It is a movement that gives voice to the feelings of rural Oregon citizens whose frustrations have fallen on deaf ears for many years. In 2015, Grant Darrow, one of Union County’s citizens best described how rural Oregon people felt about Oregon’s leadership. He wrote,

“Rural Oregonians in general and East Oregonians in particular are growing increasingly dismayed by the manner in which Oregon’s Legislature and Oregon’s urban dwellers have marginalized their values, demonized their lifestyle, villainize their resource-based livelihoods, and have classified them as second class citizens at best. All the while they cover Oregon’s most fertile and well-watered farm ground with urban sprawl, gangs, illegal aliens, homeless camps, welfare tramps and touchy-feely politics that add little or no value to rural lifestyles. Meanwhile, Oregon’s rural residents carve out a resource-based living on marginal farm ground and the leftovers of Oregon’s economic growth, infrastructure, and technological innovation.

The Portland metro area is home to 47 percent of Oregon’s voters and covers a mere 3,776.41 square miles of Oregon’s 98,466 square miles, that’s less than 4 percent of its land mass, 3.83 percent to be exact. Five of Oregon’s 36 counties now control 100 percent of Oregon’s legislative activity. None are rural. None are east of the Cascades. None are outside the Willamette Valley.

The political diversity in this state is becoming unpalatable. Since 1988 Oregon’s urban dwellers have elected a group of individuals that represent nothing short of an aristocracy of political power, they have switched their role in democracy from servant to lord. These people have successfully disenfranchised and subjugated the people occupying everything not Portland or the Willamette Valley. They have enacted laws with little or no debate and no amendments. They have stated they will fix admittedly flawed laws after they are enacted, this is backward legislative procedure designed to exclude and silence opposition, oftentimes with out-of-state money from East Coast power brokers.

Time for a change. Time to organize. Time to secede or succumb. Thirty-one counties need to put an initiative on their ballot that states, “Should (my) county secede from the state of Oregon and seek a more perfect union elsewhere.” Imagine for a moment Idaho’s western border stretching to the Pacific and the state of Oregon shrinking to less than 4,000 square miles of land-locked river view property.”

Grant Darrow submits 960 signatures to put Greater Idaho on the May 2021 ballot in Union County, Oregon
Grant Darrow submitting 960 signatures to put greater Idaho onto the 2020 Union County ballot. Voters approved the measure.

Move Oregon’s Border is a grassroots movement that began with rural Oregon people. Now there are over 12,000 people who have joined this movement and are standing up and asking for a chance to vote their frustrations. A community has the right to choose what company will do the garbage collection or provide cable TV. Do they have the freedom to choose which state governs them? It is very plain that Oregon’s legislative leadership and the Governor do not care about the needs of rural Oregon; it is all about urban Oregon. Idaho’s rural, conservative values align much better with Oregon’s rural counties than the urban liberal values that are being lorded over rural Oregon. Move Oregon’s Border is giving HOPE to many rural Oregonians that their conservative values can and will be preserved.

Move Oregon’s Border is attempting to get ballot initiatives placed on the ballot in 12 rural Oregon counties. County measures can be placed on the ballot by petitions with a certain number of signatures. These county by county measures ask the voter if they favor moving their county to become a county of Idaho. Some counties have turned down these petition requests because they do not meet, in their opinion, Oregon’s criteria for a legislative petition. However, some counties have approved the initiative petitions and their citizens are signing them, even in ‘pandemic’ times. Thank you, rural Oregon counties who have approved the petition requests and are giving your citizens the opportunity to vote yes or no on Move Oregon’s Border.

Why haven’t county commissioners moved to refer an advisory question about this onto the November ballot? A representative type government listens to its citizens and gives them an opportunity to voice their concerns. Moving a county or counties from one state to another takes time but the first step is to get an advisory vote from the county citizens about starting the negotiations. Our message to county government is: give The People the opportunity to say yes, or no, on moving Oregon’s border. 

Our message to Oregon’s state political leadership is: let our people go!  Your counties have different goals, different values, and different economies. Your primary voters will be glad to get rid of “Trump-voting low-income counties.” Let us be governed by a state that understands us.  Please negotiate a deal with Idaho.

Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon's Border speaks at a greater Idaho rally in Roseburg hosted by David Jaques in March, 2020
Let's join forces to make a greater Idaho!