The Idaho House of Representatives yesterday passed a nonbinding resolution to start negotiations with Oregon lawmakers on Greater Idaho, a new state that would combine much of Eastern Oregon with the nation’s potato capital.
Talk of the new state heated up during the presidency of Donald J. Trump, when conservatives in rural Oregon said they would be better off as part of a state that shared more of their rural family values. (The fundraiser for the campaign grew up in Gresham.)
“The Oregon/Idaho line was established 163 years ago and is now outdated,” the Greater Idaho group says on its webpage. “It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn’t match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon.”
The concept remains potent among rural counties—and an enormous long shot to actually occur. But U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore,) said Thursday he’s willing to talk to Idaho about a deal.
“I would entertain a trade for Boise and Sun Valley,” Blumenauer said in a statement.
It would be a good swap for Oregon, budgetwise. Sun Valley and Boise are among the wealthiest parts of Idaho, and the 11 counties east of the Cascades that are Greater Idaho curious are among the poorest in Oregon.
They don’t include Bend, so Oregon would keep that, too.