May 16 2021
8:05 PM
banner-icon1 banner-icon2 banner-icon3

Local Oregon News

Local News Index

Previous story Central Oregon leaders: 'Greater Idaho' questions unanswered Next story
  Oregon and Idaho   Move Oregon’s Border  

Story by Pat Kruis | Portland Tribune - Story Source
Published on Tuesday March 16, 2021 - 2:50 AM

(PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — As voters demanded, Jefferson County Commissioners explored the possibility of the county leaving Oregon and joining Idaho, along with much of Oregon counties east of the Cascades.

The county voted in November to require commissioners to discuss the issue twice a year.

"There's a million questions, for sure," says Kelly Simmelink, County Commission chair.

Chris Taylor of the Move Oregon's Border campaign argued why it's worthwhile to tackle those million questions. "Unfortunately, the boundary between Oregon and Idaho is really outdated because it doesn't match the cultural boundary between people who like Portland and Salem's leadership and people who don't."

The campaign suggests agricultural counties in Central, Eastern and Southern Oregon divorce themselves from metropolitan areas, and marry more like-minded Idaho.

"The value of the United States having multiple states instead of just one big state is that it allows differentiation, different laws in different states," says Taylor. "And hopefully those state boundaries can reflect actual boundaries between groups that want one kind of law and other groups that want another kind of law."

Oregonians who don't like new laws that decriminalized drugs, Taylor suggests, may feel more at home in Idaho. He contends Idaho has lower taxes, less regulation and lower unemployment.

The campaign proposes a border along the Deschutes River, which splits the county, leaving Warm Springs and Camp Sherman in Oregon. Bend would stay in Oregon, but Redmond and Terrebonne would become part of Jefferson County.

Simmelink raised concerns the boundary shift could disrupt long nurtured relationships.

"Our tribal interactions, and tri-county interactions. There's so much we do between the tri counties here, whether it be health care, mutual aid in law enforcement."