A group of Oregon residents is petitioning to have two counties in their state join Idaho, citing Oregon’s Democratic leadership.
Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho said Josephine and Douglas counties have accepted ballot initiatives supporting a goal of joining Idaho, the organization said in a press release earlier this month.
The Josephine County ballot initiative specifically “makes it county policy to cooperate with any state effort to move the Oregon/Idaho border, if any such effort develops,” the group said.
The Douglas County Initiative amends a current ordinance to “add Idaho officials to the list of officials who may be lobbied by Douglas County commissioners. The suggested ballot question is ‘Shall the County Board be authorized to advocate for Idaho legislation, such as making this county a county of Idaho?’” the group noted.
The group must gather 2,429 signatures in Josephine County by Aug. 5 and 2,955 signatures from Douglas County residents to appear on the ballot in the general election in November.
Mike McCarter of La Pine, Ore., and Valerie Gottschalk of Selma, Ore., are the “chief petitioners” and leaders of the “movement,” the group said.
“Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values. We tried voting those legislators out but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort,” McCarter said in a statement.
Last year, there were two failed efforts to recall Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Gottschalk said the “response” to a “Recall Kate” petition made her “expect this movement to grow rapidly.”
“People here would prefer Idaho's conservative governance to the progressive/liberal current Oregon governance. Every time I look at the Facebook group Greater Idaho, the group has gotten bigger,” she said.
The group is also aiming to add rural California counties to the expanded Idaho border. Idaho would gain coastline in Oregon's Douglas County, Coos County, Curry County and California's Del Norte County under the plan.