‘Greater Idaho’ Moves Closer To Reality

If members of the Idaho state legislature have their way, the map of the United States may soon see major changes. The Idaho House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting the Greater Idaho movement to expand the state into parts of rural Oregon.

Much of the support for the Greater Idaho movement come from rural parts of Washington and Oregon, as well as in Idaho itself.

If the proposal goes forward, the majority of Oregon’s territory comprising eleven counties would join Idaho. These counties currently in Oregon have already endorsed the idea.

Such a move would need further approval from the Idaho Senate, the Oregon state legislature and both houses of Congress.

This isn’t the first time that such an idea has made it to popular discourse. The Greater Idago idea is decades old, as some residents from eastern Washington and Oregon saw themselves as not properly represented.

The heavily-Republican regions of rural Oregon are regularly outvoted by residents in the western part of the state. Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1982.

In many ways, residents in the rural counties see major differences between their areas and the more populated regions near the Pacific coast. In many ways, the electoral decisions of the state are heavily shaped by the cities of Seattle and Portland, respectively.

Furthermore, there is a large topographic and demographic difference between the coastal areas of Oregon and Washington and the remainder of the state.

These rural areas are often sparsely-populated and heavily based on agriculture. This particularly contrasts with the forested areas of the western portions of Washington and Oregon, as well as its big cities.

Following significant increases in crime in these large cities, especially Portland. That city’s spike in violence was higher than the national average.

A similar movement emerged a century ago for counties in northern California to form their own state, Jefferson. Some versions of Jefferson include some of the same rural areas of Oregon as discussed in the Greater Idaho proposal.

Interest in breaking Jefferson away from California declined due to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.