“She flies with her own wings.” That’s been the Oregon motto since 1987.
Now, conservative Oregonians are spreading their wings in an attempt to fly from the state’s progressive government.
Earlier this week, five counties in rural eastern Oregon voted to consider leaving the state and becoming part of neighboring Idaho, The Oregonian reported.
It’s just the latest effort by conservatives to “gain political refuge from blue states,” as The Oregonian put it in a tweet.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) May 19, 2021
Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman counties will now join Union and Jefferson counties, which both approved similar proposals last year requiring their local governments to study the possibility of being incorporated into Idaho.
The closest vote was in Sherman County, with 429 yays and 260 nays, while the most decisive vote was in Lake County, with 1,341 yays and 463 nays.
Should eastern Oregon counties become part of Idaho?
Yes: 96% (77 Votes)
No: 4% (3 Votes)
The move was championed by the group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, which maintains a website and sees moving the state boundary as the only way to ensure that conservative Oregonians are able to live in the manner they deem best.
The website cites grievances with Oregon’s increasing tax rates, lack of adequate conservative representation and progressive policies such as last year’s decriminalization of hard drugs.
Mike McCarter, the movement’s lead petitioner, spoke to The Oregonian about the results of the votes.
“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” McCarter said.
“If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.”
McCarter certainly isn’t wrong about the plight of conservatives in Oregon.
Apart from the hyper-progressive urban centers surrounding Eugene and Portland, the vast majority of Oregon counties vote Republican. In the 2020 election, for example, 26 of Oregon’s 36 counties voted for former President Donald Trump.
However, the last time Oregon’s Electoral College votes actually went to a Republican candidate was in 1984, when Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale by 12 percentage points.
The message now is clear: Everyday Oregonians are sick and tired of having their values and freedoms trampled by the same lawmakers whose policies have resulted in deadly unrest, mass economic harm and the undermining of public education.
The intensely progressive agenda pushed by Gov. Kate Brown and her coterie have led some to question whether conservatives can continue to live under their yoke at all.
It’s no wonder conservative Oregonians are looking to flee to the Gem State.
Alas, the effort is something of a long shot. Both Oregon and the U.S. Congress would need to okay the move, and neither is likely willing to do anything that would strengthen a conservative bastion like Idaho.
For now, conservatives in Oregon will have to continue bearing the burdens placed on them by their Democratic lordlings, and plan for the next election.