Eastern Oregon voting to join Idaho

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

As Oregon residents take to the polls today, one thing many will be deciding is whether the state will enact Measure 114, an extensive and unconstitutional gun control law that would become the most extensive anti-gun law in the nation, if passed.

Now, as bad as Oregon is, this isn’t a done deal. In fact, polling suggests that voting on the measure is going to be tight.

But the fact that it’s even a possibility–plus the fact that the state has passed a lot of other questionable laws, both gun-control related and otherwise–is leading some to vote on a different measure.

This is about some counties leaving Oregon and joining Idaho.

Republican voters in Eastern and Central Oregon are so fed up with liberal lawmakers that they want to break rank — and state lines — and become part of Idaho.

On Tuesday, two Oregon counties, Morrow and Wheeler, are set to vote on a ballot measure about whether to explore leaving the state. Since 2020, nine counties in Eastern Oregon have already voted to join the Greater Idaho movement.

“People in Eastern Oregon are just different and have different views on crime, the Second Amendment, abortion, taxes and minimum wage [from the western portion of the state],” Matt McCaw, spokesman for Greater Idaho, told The Post. “The polarization with the western part of the state is real. When I meet with people and host meetings, there are a lot of complaints about the lack of representation. Eastern Oregon is just very conservative and has its own culture.”

It’s a radical proposition that would see nearly two-thirds of Oregon’s 63 million acres (98,000 square miles), but less than 10% of its population, blend into neighboring Idaho.

It would definitely shrink Oregon in size, but would have minimal impact on anything beyond that and how those particular counties vote.

Yet it’s a bold move.

One reason for it, though, is Oregon’s embrace of gun control. These voters really don’t have a say. Their voices get drowned out by cities like Portland and Eugene.

Those are the places that pushed a mandatory storage law last year, then enacted criminal justice reform efforts that ended cashless bail for many. That was after decriminalizing small amounts of all illicit drugs. That’s a recipe for disaster and they can see it.

So, they’re voting to leave their state and join another, one more in keeping with their politics and traditions.

However, as the piece notes, this isn’t something they get to decide for themselves. Both the states of Oregon and Idaho need to agree, and while the governor of Idaho said he welcomed the move in 2020, that’s not quite the same thing.

For Idaho, this is probably a no-brainer.

An increase in population means a greater tax base and a potential increase in representation in Congress with minimal downside.

The biggest hindrance is whether Oregon will go along with it.

On one hand, your typical progressive in Portland wants nothing to do with the more conservative eastern counties, and may well say “good riddance.” On the other, they may insist on keeping control over those counties.

Either way, the vote today will show a desire to leave or not, but it won’t facilitate it. Let’s hope for their sake it’s a first step in the path rather than an empty gesture.