PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - An effort to expand Idaho’s border into Oregon is gaining traction. The initiative was on the ballot in five Oregon counties and Tuesday’s election results show those counties are in support of the merger.
Those counties include Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker and Malheur. They join two additional counties that had already voted in favor back in November, which are Union and Jefferson. This initiative is being organized by Citizens of Greater Idaho. They want Idaho to expand its border into 18 rural Oregon counties.
Organizers argue Idaho values and laws are more in-line with people living in those counties. “The logical process is if the majority of Oregon, which is the Willamette Valley, wants to deal with their issues and everything that’s fine, but let us go and let us align ourselves with Idaho which is traditionally more like rural Oregon,” said Mike McCarter.
Greater Idaho Organizers say they have the backing of Idaho’s governor and state lawmakers. Governor Brad Little released a statement saying, “I understand why many people want to be Idahoans. They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere and our values. Still the decision to change Idaho and Oregon’s borders would need to go through both states’ legislatures and the U.S. congress for approval. There’s a lot that needs to happen before the border is within the realm of possibility.”
We reached out to Governor Kate Brown’s office for a response and have not heard back.