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Leftist policies in Oregon push 11 rural counties to consider secession: 'Greater Idaho' movement

Staff photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Eleven rural counties in eastern Oregon recently voted to support ballot measures requiring meetings discussing the possibility of secession from the west's leftist policies.

Eastern residents are frustrated with Portland's politics and no longer feel that the state is unified, the New York Times reported Saturday. Oregon has not elected a Republican governor in 40 years.

Corey Cook, an eastern Oregon resident, told the newspaper, "To say that I'm an Oregonian is a geographic truth, but it doesn't really have meaning to me the way that it did before I lived in eastern Oregon."

"Oregon is not a unified state to me any more," Cook stated.

James Nash, a Marine Corps veteran and eastern Oregon resident, told the Times, "Eastern Oregon largely gets treated as western Oregon's playground."

The "Greater Idaho" movement has gained traction with residents fed up with the west's radical, left-leaning policies. The movement seeks to incorporate 13 Oregon counties within Idaho's borders.

If the secession measure were to pass, Idaho would gain 63% of Oregon's landmass and 9% of its population.

State representatives in Idaho voted to require formal talks about the potential relocation of the state border.

Proponents of the movement argue that eastern Oregon residents' values, politics, and culture better align with Idahoans.

Nash stated that he plans to vote for the secession but does not want to see it implemented.

"I don't think there is a historical precedent to say 'this is going to work,'" Nash explained. "I'd just rather we figure out how to restore Oregon to a better place."

There have been more than 200 unsuccessful attempts to break up California. However, the "Greater Idaho" movement does not seek to create a new state but instead seeks to shift the borders of existing states. Large-scale redrawing of state borders has not occurred since the Civil War.

John Lively, a Democratic Oregon state representative, told the Times that the divide between the eastern and western counties has gotten "worse over the years."

"It's really reflective of the divide we have in our country," Lively said.

Democratic Idaho Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow, who opposes the movement, claimed that redrawing the states' borders would be "bad for the country."

"I'm very pleased this measure has virtually no chance of advancing into reality," Wintrow stated.

In order to pass, it would require the Oregon legislature, Congress, and the Idaho legislature to approve the movement. Additionally, moving the border would require eastern Oregon and Idaho to reconcile policy differences regarding sales tax, minimum wage, school funding, abortion access, and marijuana use.

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