The Greater Idaho movement proposed a more modest map on Tuesday after two counties in southwest Oregon voted against a ballot initiative last week to join Idaho.
The movement, which began in February 2020, wants to allow Oregon residents who feel like they have more in common with Idahoan values to join the state.
“I understand the frustration of some of my Oregon friends about the rules, the laws, the regulations that are coming out of Oregon, but that’s really a decision that’s got to be made there,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said shortly after the movement was announced.
The initial plan was for 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties to join Idaho, according to previous Idaho Statesman reporting, stretching Idaho’s border all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.
But after residents of Douglas and Josephine Counties in southwest Oregon voted against joining Idaho in the May 17 primary election, Greater Idaho leadership decided to pull the “new” state line back east of the Cascade Mountain Range.
The newly-proposed map would mean that Idaho would not border any coastlines, absorb 14 Oregon counties and partially absorb three other counties. According to Greater Idaho, approximately 360,000 people — 9% of Oregon’s population — and 63% of Oregon’s land would transition to Idaho.
“If southern Oregon changes its mind, it’s welcome to join phase 1 or phase 2 of our proposal, but we want to make progress now in state legislatures with eastern Oregon,” movement leader Mike McCarter said in a press release on Tuesday.
“Eastern Oregon has consistently voted in favor, and so we want eastern Oregon’s request to join Idaho to be heard,” McCarter continued. “There are only a few counties left in eastern Oregon that haven’t gotten a chance to vote on Greater Idaho yet.”
Nine counties in eastern Oregon have voted yes to join Idaho since 2020, and two more counties in northeast Oregon, Morrow and Wallowa, are also set to vote on the proposal soon.
Under the newly proposed map, that would leave just six counties with no current plans to vote on the initiative.
The addition of eastern Oregon to the Gem State is just the first phase of the proposal. The second phase would see Greater Idaho spread into northeast California, where the movement claims that residents identify closer to Idaho ideologies based on voter trends.
The movement points to the 2016 presidential election map proving that northeast California leans toward the right. The 2020 presidential election indicates a similar trend.
McCarter said he is also open to southwest Oregon voting again in the future to join Greater Idaho.