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Developing: 13 Conservative Counties in Progressive Oregon Approve Measure for Secession

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In some states across the nation, the urban-rural split manifests in a dramatic political divide: A couple of large cities overwhelmingly dominate statewide elections and policies, often overshadowing the preferences of the rest of the state.

In Oregon, the state’s two largest cities, Portland and Eugene, along with their surrounding metro areas, are considered among the most liberal in the country. The policy preferences of these urban progressive voters essentially dictate Oregon’s statewide positions.

However, travel outside of those population centers into rural eastern Oregon, and you’ll find communities with far more conservative values, leaning largely Republican.

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Now, tired of not being represented by their state, 13 counties in Oregon have voted to start talks about secession from Oregon to join the neighboring conservative state of Idaho in a measure called the “Greater Idaho” proposal.

Should counties in states be able to secede and join another state closer to their ideology?

The plan calls for moving the Oregon-Idaho border roughly 200 miles westward, which would transfer around 14 entire counties and portions of several others from Oregon into Idaho, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.

Supporters argue this would better align the region politically and culturally with the more conservative values of Idaho, which enjoys lower taxes, fewer gun restrictions and higher value for life, versus the progressive policies coming out of the liberal cities dominating Oregon politics, according to the New York Times.

A Republican has not been elected Oregon governor in four decades. Environmental regulations have constrained industries like timber, crucial to eastern economies, the New York Times reported.

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“The voters of eastern Oregon have spoken loudly and clearly about their desire to see border talks move forward,” the website for the movement claims. “With this latest result in Crook County, there’s no excuse left for the Legislature and Governor to continue to ignore the people’s wishes. We call on the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President to sit down with us and discuss next steps towards changing governance for eastern Oregonians, as well as for the legislature to begin holding hearings on what a potential border change will look like.”

 

While the county vote results are not legislatively binding, organizers said they demonstrate the clear will of residents and increase pressure on state leaders to begin negotiations on redrawing borders.

Greater Idaho Executive Director Matt McCaw said, “The voters of eastern Oregon have spoken loudly and clearly about their desire to see border talks move forward,” the Daily Mail reported.

Opponents argue redrawing state maps would create a logistical nightmare and is unconstitutional without consent from Congress. But the Oregon/Idaho border has shifted before, with the last adjustment happening in 1958.

This is not the only instance where rural counties, tired of being controlled by big city policies, have opened conversations about secession.

Similar secession efforts have emerged in other parts of the country, including in Illinois counties and a proposal last year for Texas to vote on “Texit” — a measure designed to leave the United States entirely.



The Founders believed that there should be “no taxation without representation,” protesting policies made by a government that did not represent their values or give them a voice in shaping their own destiny.

On a smaller scale, pockets of such unrest are rising up within the country as the rural-urban divide intensifies.

Whether or not this particular secession comes to fruition, the seeds have been sown and are beginning to slowly take root.

Barring a revival or some unforeseen drastic change, these rifts will continue to grow. One wonders whether the map of America we see today will be the same one our grandchildren will inherit.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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