STREET TALK: Should Eastern Oregon Join Idaho?

Political imbalances in Oregon may lead to their neighbors’ expansion, “The Greater Idaho”



Eastern Oregonians feel more related to Idaho than to Portland.

ANNABELLE PEPIN, Evergreen columnist

Rural Oregon counties are lobbying and voting to approve ballot measures to change the border of Oregon and become a part of Idaho.

Eastern Oregonians believe that since their political views align better with those of Idaho, they should join together, excluding the more liberal Portland-esque side of Oregon. The Greater Idaho concept would ensure an even more prominent urban-rural divide between both sides of Oregon than there already is.

But is that the best idea? A number of students have opinions.

Freshman nursing major Nathan Larsen, says it makes sense politically and Washington could justify the same thing, but he does not support it because it supports political polarization.

Personally imagining Washington in this position is strange, considering a large number of students (myself included) who live on the west side would be left in a completely different place than where we started.

If we were to split like Oregon, our campus would be completely different. Idaho State University? Pullman, Idaho? Would we just have to join the Vandals? I would like to keep my Cougar sanctity, thank you very much.

The logistics of this decision seem very difficult to transition to, for considerations like universities, school districts and the minimum wage. If people voted against it, but still I question what would happen to them because of these changes.

Freshman communications major Hudson Miller said, “It is not a good idea. The economic productivity of each side of the state should remain within state lines and would create tension along the borders.”

For many students, this was the first time they heard about The Greater Idaho concept.

Freshman nursing major Amber Wise, said she is impartial to the decision because she had never heard of it.

Lilly Janis, freshman wildlife sciences major, says it makes sense and if she were in the position she would vote in favor of the decision.

A huge motivator for the change is the difference in political beliefs in the two sides of the states, with the east leaning more republican/right and the west leaning more democrat/left.

Many people on the east side feel sorely underrepresented in their beliefs because the high population density of the west overtakes their political views and values when elections come around.

Alissa Davis, sophomore environmental science major, said it is always helpful to be exposed to politics of different views. She does not understand why people would want to segregate their beliefs.

One of the beauties of democracy is the difference of views. Without these different views, a separated set of beliefs in states would go against democratic values.

Gavin Gunter, junior wildlife ecology major, says it is interesting that so many counties want to move their border. He said if he were a part of the community he would be more inclined to support it, but since he is not, he did not feel like it was his business.

Senior kinesiology major Noah Hardyway,  said he would vote against the decision because it is logistically challenging and seems like a headache and has a weird border, but just like Gunter, does not feel he has a say because he does not live in the area or know their values/reasoning.

This decision would take many steps and most likely years, considering Greater Idaho asked the counties initially in 2020.

The side of the votes that piques my interest lies in those who live in the counties and disagree with the bill. Their stance on the issue would bring some light to the counterargument that is not seeming to be shown by the way of the votes.