Plan to Move Oregon/Idaho Border Advances in Umatilla County, Oregon

Greater Idaho Map 192

A new political group called Move Oregon’s Border announced that their prospective petition in a third county, Umatilla County, has passed its procedural constitutional review by the County Clerk and has been awarded a ballot title by the county’s district attorney. The petition’s cover sheet and signature page are expected to be cleared for gathering signatures in early March. 1447 valid signatures are required to qualify for the Umatilla County ballot.

In Douglas County, the group’s cover sheet and signature page are expected to be approved for circulation in early March also, perhaps in time for a planned Roseburg, Oregon rally on the morning of March 7. Details of the rally will be released in an upcoming press release, their press release said.

In Josephine County, the group’s cover sheets and signature page are delayed, pending a review in Josephine County Circuit Court of the wording of the District Attorney’s choice of ballot title.

Governor of Idaho Brad Little appeared on Fox News on February 19 to “welcome” the idea of moving the Oregon/Idaho border. Although Idahoans are very concerned about changes to Idahoan voting patterns caused by the flow of Californians moving into their state, the counties that would be added to Idaho voted for Trump in 2016 at rates similar to Idaho. Move Oregon’s Border says that, although these counties and Idaho had the same per capita personal income according to 2018 US BEA data, their economies would grow under Idaho’s less restrictive regulatory environment, and Idaho’s lower levels of taxation. Mike McCarter said, “With an economy improved by Idaho governance, these Oregon counties would be a financial asset to Idaho.”

Yet the rural Oregon counties that would become Idaho are a net drain on the Oregon state budget because Oregon’s average income is much higher than theirs. Mike McCarter said that “According to our tabulation based on the higher per capita personal income of northwestern Oregon, northwestern Oregonians pay $324 per person per year in extra taxes only because these lower-income counties are in their state. I’m pretty sure they could think of ways they’d rather spend that money than holding our communities captive under a government we never consented to. We are a distinct people that want self-determination so that we can preserve our livelihoods, our traditional values, and the character of our communities. If northwestern Oregon doesn’t want to worry about maintaining a quorum or maintaining their super-majority in the Oregon Legislature, then they should make a deal with Idaho to move the border.”

The group plans to collect signatures in each of 20 counties, unless the county board of commissioners refers an advisory question to the ballot in that county. News of the acceptance of Move Oregon’s Border’s prior two prospective petitions garnered national news coverage. Chief petitioner Mike McCarter said that, in response, county commissioners in multiple counties have contacted him to ask for more information in preparation for considering taking action as county boards of commissioners to refer an advisory question to their counties’ ballots. Move Oregon’s Border’s suggested advisory question would ask the voter: “Should the County Commissioners advocate for the Idaho border to be relocated to make this county a county of Idaho?”

The last time an entire county was annexed by a neighboring state was November 1863, when Jefferson County, Virginia became Jefferson County, West Virginia. In August 1863, the Virginia / West Virginia border had been relocated to include Berkeley County, Virginia into West Virginia. The State of West Virginia had been admitted to the Union two months prior to that border relocation, in June 1863.

Maps on the group’s website,, show the Idaho border relocated so that Oregon only has a 14 counties remaining, mostly in the Willamette Valley. Idaho would gain coastline in Douglas County, Coos County, Curry County, and even Del Norte County, California. The group says that adding rural California counties to Idaho is phase 2 of their plan.

Mike McCarter 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.

Move Oregon’s Border is a nonprofit leading a new movement called Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho that combines elements of the State of Jefferson movement with a 2015 “greater Idaho” effort led by Ken Parsons and state rep. Greg Smith. In 2016, Congressman Greg Walden told KBND News, “People scoff at these ideas when they don’t understand what underlies them. And the issue here is that people feel like your voice doesn’t matter when you’re in eastern Oregon because the population is in Portland and they wag the whole dog. And people get tired of that, so they look for alternatives, so their voice is heard and respected. I’ll tell you the sentiment out in much of eastern Oregon is that they’d rather be connected to Idaho than to Portland. I understand that. Yeah, when you feel like the fix is in against you with your own government [that] you’re paying for, and nobody understands or cares about what you’re going through, there’s a huge level of frustration that is just kind of ignored by those on the west side.”

Mike McCarter,
chief petitioner, county ballot initiatives
President, Move Oregon’s Border
Valerie Gottschalk,
chief petitioner, county ballot initiatives
Secretary, Move Oregon’s Border

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Link to ballot title filing by Umatilla County
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