These counties do not want to be part of the “Greater Utopia” that includes Portland.
This January, I wrote that one Oregon county submitted a petition that added a ballot initiative for joining 11 other of the state’s counties in the “Greater Idaho” movement.
The votes have been counted and its official: Wallowa County is now part of the “Greater Idaho” movement.
The vote originally took place in May, with preliminary results showing support for the effort leading by only 21 votes. After all votes were finalized in June, the lead shrunk to only seven votes, narrowly avoiding the state requirement for a recount.
The “Greater Idaho” effort originally began in 2020 as an idea for large swaths of rural eastern Oregon to secede and join the more conservative Idaho to get away from the western, progressive part of the state.
With Wallowa County’s vote, 12 out of 12 counties that have held an election on a “Greater Idaho” measure of any kind have voted in favor of exploring the move.
The adage “every vote counts” was certainly true in this case.
The 50.1% to 49.9% split in Wallowa County will require its commissioners to discuss merging with Idaho and won’t trigger a recount, an elections official in Wallowa County confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The final vote count stood at 1,752 people for Measure 32-007, which will require that commissioners “meet twice annually to discuss promoting Wallowa County interest in relocating Idaho borders to include Wallowa County,” versus 1,745 people against it.
Wallowa County Clerk Sandy Lathrop said the measure missed the requirement for a mandatory recount by just one vote. A recount is required by Oregon law when the winning margin is less than or equal to .2%, which is 6.994 votes in this instance. The state does not round up, she said, so seven votes wasn’t small enough to force a recount.
Lathrop also said six contested ballots were not cured before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
The leftists are complaining about the results.
Stephen Piggott with the Western States Center, which tracks far-right extremism in the Northwest and Mountain West and promotes marginalized communities, said the Greater Idaho movement and the questions that have shown up on local ballots in most recent election cycles contribute to the divide.
“There’s a lot of division within the country, in general, and Greater Idaho is fanning the flames of that and then adding fuel to the fire,” Piggott said.
He added that proponents of changing the state boundary focused on inflammatory issues including anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and COVID-19 denial. Piggott shared screenshots of ads and online memes posted by supporters, including one comparison of the two states that credited Idaho for “trustworthy elections” and derided Oregon for providing driver’s licenses and health coverage to people living in the country illegally, allowing transgender girls to play in girls’ sports leagues and paying for Medicaid recipients and others who receive health coverage through the state to receive abortions.
Meanwhile, Portland officials have just passed a daytime camping ban to try and gain some control over the lawless city.
Business owners are not impressed with the new rules.
Commissioner Rene Gonzalez said Wednesday that almost no one will go to jail due to the ordinance.
That’s led downtown business owners to question if there are “teeth” to the punishment for those who violate the ordinance.
“That just means there’s no teeth,” Bob, a downtown business owner said. “I mean they don’t have $100 to pay so they just won’t pay it. So, what’s there going to be, a bench warrant? It doesn’t make any sense, it’ll be ineffective, completely ineffective.”
He said sales from his store have dropped 20% in the past year. Bob said that’s due to people being afraid to visit his downtown location.
“I don’t know why it’s taken so long for the city to start addressing this problem. It’s just been getting worse and worse. We actually have a maintenance person that hangs around here, and he’s got two five-gallon buckets full of used needs that he’s picked up in the last two years.”
He said the ordinance should be for 24 hours a day instead of 12 hours, which was approved.
Bob believes there is too much government funding being allocated to resources to help those experiencing homelessness.
Clearly, 12 Oregon counties do not want to be part of the “Greater Utopia” that includes Portland. It will be interesting to see how much more of Oregon want to secede to join Idaho.DONATE
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