Five Oregon counties will ask voters in the next election whether they want to detach from the deep-blue state and join neighboring red-state Idaho.
Move Oregon’s Border, also known as Greater Idaho, confirmed Tuesday that the initiative to move swaths of largely rural eastern and southern Oregon into Idaho qualified for the May 18 special election ballot in five counties: Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman.
In Baker County, organizers far exceeded the 496 signatures required by submitting 746, with the clerk reporting that 630 were accepted. The county population is about 16,000.
“Oregon is a powder keg because counties that belong in a red-state like Idaho are ruled by Portlanders,” said Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border, in a statement.
He cited the impact of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s novel coronavirus restrictions; ongoing Antifa unrest in Portland; a state task force’s unsuccessful effort to prioritize “Black, Indigenous and people of color” for novel coronavirus vaccines, and what he described as the state legislature’s bias in favor of Portland over rural communities.
“This state protects Antifa arsonists, not normal Oregonians, it prioritizes one race above another for vaccines and program money and in the school curriculum, and it prioritizes Willamette Valley above rural Oregon,” Mr. McCarter said.
So far, the Move Oregon’s Borders movement is batting .500. In November, voters in two counties approved measures requiring county commissioners to hold meetings about relocating the state border. Two other counties defeated the measure.