LA PINE, OR -- The Greater Idaho Movement is changing its proposed map, paring down the plan for a large portion of Oregon to join its eastern neighbor. Mike McCarter is President of the group “Move Oregon’s Border.” He tells KBND News, "We are going to adjust a little bit and try to move forward with Eastern Oregon because it seems evident that the Oregon’s leadership and direction that they’re going has a larger impact on Eastern Oregon than it does on Southern Oregon." The new proposed border no longer includes the southern Oregon coast. "So, it starts at the Columbia River and heads south along the Deschutes River. It does make a dogleg out around Bend, comes back in just south of Sunriver and continues on all the way along the western border of Klamath County." McCarter says they’re not giving up on taking Idaho to the Pacific Ocean but believes it’ll have to wait for Phase two.
The La Pine man tells KBND News the change is in response to the May election. Voters in Douglas and Josephine counties failed to support the idea of continuing discussions to join Idaho. Over the past couple of years, nine Eastern Oregon counties have agreed to consider the concept. McCarter admits voters haven’t actually said they want to leave Oregon, "The question to the counties is not a question to secede. It’s a question to look into the possibility. But it does give an indication that a lot of people in eastern Oregon feel closer to the traditional values that there are in Idaho."
A total of 14 full counties and three partial counties remain in the "Greater Idaho" proposal. The question will appear on the Morrow County ballot in the fall. Wallowa County voters shot down the idea in a previous election but will see the issue again in May 2023. But those ballot questions are only symbolic, not part of the federal process to actually change a state’s border. "It requires an agreement between the Oregon Legislature and the Idaho Legislature," says McCarter, "Then that goes back to the US congress for approval."
Image Courtesy Greater Idaho Movement