Parts of Oregon don’t want to be part of Oregon anymore. They want to stay put, but have different representation going forward and in that case, Idaho is looking pretty damn good. That’s the case with seven counties in Oregon voting overwhelmingly this week to cede from the state and be absorbed by their potato-growing neighbors to the East. It’s unclear if this initiative will actually work, but it’s an interesting gambit by the groups of residents in that part of the state who don’t feel they are being represented properly in their current state. Business Insider has it that the move is one step closer now.
This move by those in Oregon to change teams is part of an initiative called Greater Idaho and they aren’t stopping here. Though seven counties in the state have enacted a vote calling for measures to be put in place to consider the move, the ultimate goal is to get to 18 counties total. If this were to happen the rough numbers could be problematic for Oregon and possibly very good for Idaho. Those 18 counties would compromise close to 70% of the overall land in the state of Oregon.
Though the land transfer, if it were to happen, would be massive, the Oregon population change wouldn’t be as much. Those 18 counties would bring over only about 20% of the Oregon population to Idaho, a number just a shade under 900,000. The current population of Idaho is about 1.8 million though so it would represent a sizable increase (by percentages) of their overall land and people. If this happened it would have significant ramifications on both states.
Not all of the Oregon counties being considered for this move were totally into the idea. Two of them voted the proposition down, though not by overwhelming margins. This is still a work in progress and according to representatives of the group, these are small steps in the legislative branch of the state government to have something happen in the next five to seven years. Even if they all voted yes right now, it would still take time.
The push by the Greater Idaho initiative is divided mostly down political lines right now. Part of the impetus for the move is the concern among those residents in the more rural areas of the state that they are being unrepresented in the Oregon government. That’s because though this group wants to take the land with them, the urban centers in Oregon comprise about 80% of the overall population and the statehouse leans Democrat. This group is primarily Republican.
Apparently, this move for many counties to leave Oregon and move to Idaho started about a year ago around the time of the pandemic. Unhappy with measures put in place on a state level regarding the Covid-19 response, they began to get the word out that a solution would be to move the land to Idaho. Again, this is unlikely to happen, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out especially considering some counties are clearly bought into the idea.