By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Discussions about moving Oregon’s border may happen in some counties next year.
“We want to hear what the citizens say and that in turn sends a message to the state legislature to work across isles, to work together for all of Oregon,” said Mike McCarter, President of Move Oregon’s Border.
Mike McCarter gathered enough signatures to put measure 16-96 on the Jefferson County ballot.
The measure would require commissioners to meet two times a year in February and July to discuss local interest in moving the Oregon-Idaho border.
Commissioner Kelly Simmelink says it’s not a county-sponsored measure.
“I can assure you we have been given no direction on those meetings or what those meetings will be like,” Simmelink said.
The “Move Oregon’s Border” proposal would shift 19 of Oregon’s 36 counties to Idaho.
Voters in Douglas, Wallowa and Union Counties will decide on similar initiatives Tuesday.
“It seems like a very, very heavy lift to me to get all those other counties to do it. I don’t know whether those citizens of those counties, I don’t even know how our citizens feel about this,” Simmelink said.
Mike McCarter, a La Pine resident, is the primary sponsor. He wants to know what rural Oregon citizens actually want.
“I love this state, but currently with issues that are going on, I want to move away from that, but I want to live here,” McCarter said.
Simmelink agrees not all of Oregon is always represented.
“Things that are coming out of Salem right now aren’t beneficial to our constituents in a lot of cases and we need to have equal voices at the table to try and work together to make a better Oregon,” he said.
The much larger goal for McCarter’s group is to move Oregon’s border and a portion of Northern California to create what would be called “Greater Idaho.”
“This step is just the beginning, saying if the citizens want it, then let’s start looking into it, “ said McCarter.
Jefferson County voters will weigh in on the measure on Tuesday night.