Select Page

The Growing Campaign to Move Parts of Oregon to Idaho

The Growing Campaign to Move Parts of Oregon to Idaho

Oregonian conservatives whose political views align more closely with their neighbors in Idaho than with the liberals in Portland and Salem are pushing to adjust the states’ borders.

A campaign dubbed “Move Oregon’s Border” proposes a merging that would grant Idaho more than 75% of Oregon’s current land, some 870,000 residents, and access to the ocean.

“Imagine for a moment Idaho’s western border stretching to the Pacific Ocean,” writes Elgin resident Grant Darrow. “The political diversity in this state is becoming unpalatable…rural Oregonians in general and eastern Oregonians, in particular, are growing increasingly dismayed by the manner in which Oregon’s legislature and Oregon’s urban dwellers have marginalized their values, demonized their lifestyle, villainized their resource-based livelihoods, and classified them as second-class citizens at best.”

More than half of Oregon’s population lives in the Portland area and has little interaction with the ranchers and loggers living in remote areas of the state who feel like they are forced to comply with rules and regulations that make no sense.

“Most of us in rural Oregon realize that whatever the Portland/Willamette Valley area wants, they get,” argues Michael McCarter, leader of the Move Oregon’s Border movement. “Do we have the freedom to vote who we want to govern us? That’s the question.”

“This is not the Oregon I know,” laments Sandie Gilson, a supporter of the movement who takes issue with liberal objectives like legalized marijuana, banning diesel fuel, and restricting police budgets.

With demographic trends working against their favor and Democrats in the process of drawing new districts, residents like McCarter and Gilson will soon be even further underrepresented.

A ballot measure in favor of merging Oregon and Idaho has been approved in 8 of the 10 counties in which it was proposed, making it the most electorally successful secessionist movement in modern America.

Success, though unlikely, would require support from Oregon’s Democratic-controlled legislature, Idaho’s Republican-controlled legislature, and Congress.

Oregon has a long history of solving its problems through violence, however, and many fear civil war will break out if nothing changes.

“I know there’s some people that have talked about ‘If this continues on, people are going to pick up their guns,’” says McCarter. “Rural people – their values, the way they live, their faith, their freedom – are closely tied to what Idaho is, so why not adjust the border? Just let us go peacefully.”

McCarter has a point here. Adjusting a state border is much easier than creating a new state or country – and there’s nothing quite so American as choosing your own government.

“If it gives people a place to put our energy, our frustration – I’m for it,” says Nancy Cronin. “This is an avenue for folks instead of doing something illegal.”

In the words of Ben Holloway, owner of a gun shop in remote Harney County, a revolution in Oregon is unavoidable:

“That’s the rise and fall of every civilization in history,” says Holloway. “The United States has been at the top for a long time. We’re where Rome was when Rome was at its peak, and eventually everything comes crumbling down. It will be pretty much just like the Civil War…It will be absolutely horrible and terrifying and frightening. A lot of people dying for no reason. But eventually they’re going to push a group far enough that they have no other recourse, in their mind.”

Editor’s note: Some food for thought, this is pretty close to the logic that Russia is using against Ukraine. Logic equivalence, but not moral equivalence.


Modern America’s Most Successful Secessionist Movement

Snickerdoodle and Secession in Eastern Oregon

Their Own Private Idaho: Five Oregon Counties Back a Plan to Secede

About The Author


  1. Ben

    Yo Alice,

    Why not write an article on the National divorce the radical right keeps talking about? Kinda exciting to see how MAGAland would function.

    • William

      They would function much more better. And part of the state should join Idaho and the rest of it should be swallowed up by the Pacific Ocean along with California

      • frank stetson

        Ah, William, top of the morning to you. Such fine a day for you to wish death upon millions. Did you wake up with the idea: “hey, I could like to see all of Portland wiped off the map and, while your at it God, can you destroy all of California too. Are you listening God?

        Alice, I won’t fault you on this copy/paste job except to say, like the vast preponderance of journalists, you pick up on the fact that this is the most successful succession movement since the Civil War, although that’s not exactly the comparison they want to make, or at least most of them. Like the other journalists, both sides, you cover the views of the disenfranchised, generalized gripes about returning to the way it used to be, don’t really cover any real facts about what this might mean.

        One of the great things about American is that you can move to any of the 50 States without asking permission. I am sure these folks could find their Trumpistan somewhere in the US. But they just want to keep what they have and move it over there where they feel they will be less bothered. In their State of Delusion; these Trumpistan wannabees think somehow the grass will be greener in Idaho and somehow Idaho will treat these poor, unpopulated, rural, counties equal to real spuds.

        Hard to imagine a State Legislature that has been supposedly dumping on these areas to vote to have the same areas leave. Hopefully, these theatrics will add some volume and they will have some of their grievances, which are not very specific in Alice’s reporting, addressed. Then again, in terms of the economy, Oregon would probably profit by cutting them loose. First, they are a tax burden, not a tax benefit. Second, Oregon would get all those dollars for the State Lands sold to Idaho. There’s a lot of State land in this deal and I find it hard to imagine Oregon saying, “sure, take our asset, please.” Frankly, given the drain these areas are on the public coffers, combined with the mega profit on State lands, this is a good money deal for Portland.

        It’s also hard to imagine anyone actually believing they could return to Mayberry…. It’s our future, you can’t go back, you can only go forward, together, as one Union. However on a recent poll, 1,000 folks in Idaho, 51% for, 35% against 14% undecided. The Governor is even saying: interesting idea. But the devil’s in the details and neither Alice or these citizens have danced with the devil yet. For example, did they think about:

        One has to wonder about the economics. Oregon has no sales tax, Idaho’s is 6%. That’s good for Idaho’s coffers, not so good for fixed income Oregdahoians. Would you drive a few miles for 6%? But Oregonians will save about 2% on income tax which will blunt having less money due to the sales tax. So, Oregonians in close proximity to new Oregon will prosper; those who can’t shop in Oregon will lose money on this deal. That can be disheartening.

        Oregon has town hall meetings everywhere; Idaho does not. Guess where rural Oregon’s fire fighting, road repair, all the stuff that taxes pay for, comes from —- you can follow the money right to Portland; uh oh Idaho, can you grow some more potato’s to support your new poorer annexation citizens? Or will all Idahoians pony up to the bar for either more sales tax, more income tax, or both? The counties requesting succession are rural, poor, few natural resources or agro-tourist businesses, and, like much of the country, crumbling infrastructure without a local economy that can afford improvements. There are few tourist destinations here. They need Portland’s tax dollars more than Portland needs them.

        Oregon has a cool health plan that many of these people are on. Idaho has none. Minimum wage is $11 in Oregon, they would get $7.25 in Idaho. Nothing like a $22K year going to $14.5K to say “count me in!”

        For total tax burden, by that meaning average % of personal income, not tax rate, Idaho leads at 7.88% versus Oregon at 8.29%; a whopping .41% difference. When you take it apart by property/income/sales you get these factors comparing Idaho/Oregon: property: 2.32%/3.06%; income: 2.38%/4.17%; sales: 6%/0%. So, if you are old, on a fixed income, downsizing, Idaho is for you! If you are young, with growing income and more purchasing — Oregon is more profitable. IOW — for those who buy things, Oregon rules; for those not buying things, downsizing, etc. — Idaho cool. These facts will settle in as Oregonians get closer to the decision, but you can see why Idaho would love to incorporate any Oregonian business just for the sales tax alone. Of course, it’s like a 6% surcharge to the business and like all Republicans always say, that will cost jobs and cause massive bankruptcies. Idaho would literally get 6% of any Oregonian business revenue via sales tax..

        Then, there’s the real problem, the pot… One of the largest counties in the State, and coincidently, the one next to Boise is rolling in pot dollars bringing in over $10M per month in tax revenues. That’s $120M per year. And that’s on the Eastern border. The real pot money is in the counties above California where Trumpistan plans to meet the Ocean. Another county there brings in $100M a year. Jackson county is asking Portland for $7M to close down illegal growers amongst it’s 2,000 pot-tax paying legal growers. IOW, they want Portland to pay so they can get more pot tax dollars by closing down illegal growers. Follow the money, it’s always the shortest path. One of the main economic winners in the State is pot. And all that goes away in Idaho. No pot, just potatos….. These people may hate pot, but they are living on it now and when it goes away, yeah, they will be dreaming of those glory days in the past when the were in Oregon, not deeper in debt in Trumpistan.

        Interesting story, to me says more about America and Trumpism than it does Oregon, in that, once again, the disenfranchised are accepting some pretty crazy notions while no one, including journalists like Alice, even bother to look at reality against the buzz. To me, the important take away is these people feel disenfranchised, and right, wrong or totally delusional, Oregon needs to address this ASAP since this is the most successful succession attempt in America since the Civil War.

  2. john fudacz

    more states and countys should leave this democrapic union! get away from the leftist bullshit and restore america !

    • frank stetson

      I agree with johy fuddyduddy. And being America, this is easy. Just put you shit in the back of your pick-me-up and drive to Texas or Florida where Trumpistan already exists. Go now, avoid the rush, plenty of recently vacated homes available, adding thousands a day across the land.

  3. Laura L Hagenauer

    Living between Portland and Salem and we want to join the movement! Tired of Multnomah and Lane Counties dictating our lives.

  4. Tom

    The only reason they want to adjust the borders is so they can have their cake and eat it too. They want to keep their ranches and way of life but not have to move to a new area like so many of us have had to do for some reason. I say let them move! It is just as very American to be able to move from one state to another without fear or question as it is very American to vote for your form of government.

  5. Ac

    Hey, New York upstaters think NYC and the Islands drain state revenues from where tax funds come from. Outstate agricultural and rural populations in states with one large metropolis have long nursed grudges they have about sharing state tax revenues.
    As already mentioned, this is a free country citizens have exercised their freedom to live wherever they think is more hospitable to some chosen philosophy.
    Reshuffling the deck gambling the future will deal you a winning hand is a risky proposition ‘Rearranging historic state boundaries on the wishes of the current generation’s political orientation is unwarranted shortsighted folly. Succeeding generations are certainly going to wish their ancestors had been conventional conservatives. Traditionalists, they won’t fix something that ain’t broke. To many wisdom sayings to note here as advice proven right over time. But,
    truth be-told, individuals, families, and a whole community relocate more efficiently and happily..
    Redrawing state boarders looks simple on paper. The process necessary in effecting this plan is a years long political/legal labyrinth requiring patience, millions in dollars, specific expertise, and in the end acceptance. What is done cannot be undone.

    • frank stetson

      Yes, it’s easy to believe NY State thinks this because it’s what their leaders, or prospective leaders, are telling them. Like Oregon, it is not true. Perhaps I should rephrase that, because I think it’s true for Oregon, but the pot dollars have certainly put a huge dent in it, but just not sure if that’s turned the tide. And being Frank, all of that disappears once they take on Idaho “values.”

      Fact is like my State of NJ, NY on a Federal level gives more than it takes. Like NJ, they send their Federal dollars to Red Trump States where people don’t make as much money in their weaker economies. Some tax takeaways for these tighty-whitey-oh-we-better-for-business conservatives, from moneygeek: ” -Eight of the 10 states most dependent on the federal government were Republican-voting, with the average red state receiving $1.35 per dollar spent.
      – Nine states sent more to the federal government than they received — seven of these were Democrat-voting and had higher per capita GDPs than many of the red states that received the most.
      – New Mexico had the highest return on federal spending of any state ($4.33), and Delaware had the lowest ($0.63).
      – The eight states receiving the highest child tax credit per capita were all Republican-voting.

      Yes, Republicans, it’s good to be living the dream, but foolish to be living Trumpism….On the rating scale where 0 is top; Orgegon rates 24th with a 24% Federal dependency, Idaho ranks 18th with a 30% dependency — guess succession got’s that going for it. NJ, for example ranks 51st with zero dependency, wah…. NY ranks 40th with a 10% dependency.

      Back to NY, according to PolitiFact: “A 2011 report from the Rockefeller Institute found downstate New York typically pays more to the state in taxes than it gets back.” Even though decade old data, I am pretty sure the concept holds today. But the message from State Republicans has been different as they attempt to convince people the untruth that NYC is a tax drag on upstate economies:

      Chances are this scenario plays out in many states where urban centers spin off more tax dollars to rural areas because that’s where the money is, and that’s where the money is needed.

      So, like I said, the succession movement seems more like a desire for social program shifts than rooted in economics. I think as they continue to suss succession out, with a bigger spotlight granted from their national exposure, the economics may change some minds.