Supporters of a proposal to move Crook County from Oregon to Idaho met with Crook County officials Wednesday.
Their goal of putting a non-binding advisory question on this fall’s ballot appears to be in jeopardy.
The meeting was billed as a showdown between hundreds of Move Oregon’s Borders supporters and the Crook County Court.
About 50 people showed up.
They learned Crook County hired outside legal counsel to research the legality of holding a non-binding advisory vote on whether locals are interested in considering moving Crook County into the proposed state of Greater Idaho.
The attorney recommends Crook County seek an opinion from the Oregon Attorney General before placing such a measure on the ballot.
“I’m frustrated with the timing. For them to get on with the Attorney General to make or craft his or her opinion. We only have until August 12 to get it on the November ballot. Here we are on August 4,” said Shawn Cross, Crook County Captain for Move Oregon’s Border
Attorney Peter Watts said the title and wording of an advisory vote are critical so that people know what they are voting on and understand the benefits and burdens of the proposal to move Crook County from Oregon to Idaho.
“The people in Crook County were watching Grant County, Lake County, Harney County, Baker, Malhuer, all of these counties are voting in favor it. And they say ‘why can’t we vote?’” said Mike McCarter, President of Move Oregon’s Border
“They don’t care about this Oregon-Idaho border movement,” said Lonny Carter, Crook County resident. “All the other counties, they didn’t worry about the legal actions. They put it on the ballot. They let the people speak.”
Legal counsel said Crook County needs to decide if it wants to invest staff time and resources to understand the impacts of the county possibly joining Idaho.
Greater Idaho supporters offered to do that research and make the information available for a possible ballot measure next spring.
If such a vote comes about and is supported by Crook County voters, the Oregon State Legislature and the U.S. Congress would have to approve and those are entirely different sets of challenges for the movement to negotiate.