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() — Conflicting views on crime and social policies are creating a bigger divide between big cities and rural America, sparking efforts to secede. Among the largest pushes across the country, counties in Eastern Oregon are looking to be annexed to Idaho as a part of the Greater Idaho movement.
Oregon state Sen. Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) introduced the Greater Idaho bill in January in hopes that the eastern portion of the state could be annexed to Idaho.
The bill requested “discussion between Oregon and Idaho governments regarding relocation of Oregon and Idaho border,” according to the bill text.
Idaho state representatives also supported this movement, sponsoring a nonbinding petition known as House Joint Memorial 1, the Idaho Capitol Sun reported.
The petition invited the Oregon Legislature to begin discussions with the Idaho Legislature regarding the Idaho and Oregon border.
At least 11 counties in Eastern Oregon have already voted in favor of the effort to join Idaho.
Matt McCall, a spokesperson for Greater Idaho, broke down the effort on “Morning in America.“
McCall explained that the movement has proposed moving the Oregon-Idaho border west to the Cascade Mountain range “so that eastern Oregonians can get state-level governance from Idaho.”
There’s an estimated 400,000 people in Eastern Oregon who have lived there for generations and built communities there that they love and they don’t want to leave, McCall said. However, those people don’t agree with the state government they are getting.
“What we’re proposing is moving that state line … to make people’s lives better,” McCall said.
The border between Oregon and Idaho was set almost 200 years ago, McCall explained. He said it doesn’t make sense to keep it as is when most people in those counties don’t have the same views or values as the rest of the state.
“We could move that border and get the people in Eastern Oregon governance that they actually want and that matches their values,” McCall said.
He hopes that the main reason the state of Oregon would let the eastern part of the state go is because it’s what the people want.
“It makes far more sense for them to get government from Idaho because they’re, they’re socially, culturally, economically, politically, much more aligned with Idahoans than they are with Western Oregonians,” McCall said.
He said it’s no surprise and no secret that there’s a huge urban and rural divide in Oregon, especially since it’s been that way for a very long time.
And the push to secede isn’t just in Oregon. There’s a push in California to split into six states; in Illinois, 27 rural counties recently passed a referendum to explore seceding from the state; and in Atlanta, the Buckhead neighborhood is seeking to break away from their city.
affiliate KOIN contributed to this report.