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Ross: Can movement to merge part of Oregon with Idaho end with amicable divorce?

Welcome to Oregon (Oregon Department of Transportation)

It’s an old story here in the West – the urban spaces just do not mesh with the interests of the open spaces.

I talked with Keaton Ems, who runs a Christmas tree farm in Corvallis, and for him, the last straw was Oregon’s climate change agenda.

“Trying to outlaw diesel – they were saying ‘just make electric,’” he described. “It doesn’t work that way.”

He is now in charge of government relations at Citizens for Greater Idaho, which has passed resolutions in seven Oregon counties requiring county officials to study the possibility of simply moving the state border to the west so that they can be governed by Idaho.

But, unlike some of these other rural movements, this one doesn’t fling around a lot of the ”us-vs-them” rhetoric.

“I have no qualms with Democrats — smaller fish in a small pond,” he said.

Ready for a summer vacation on the Idaho Coast?

He has no diatribes against latte liberals. Instead, he has his own plans to cut diesel use, by building a deepwater port in Coos Bay, Oregon, and trucking the goods to and from there, avoiding the congestion of Portland.

“If we go to ocean in Coos Bay, win-win situation,” Ems said.

Except maybe for the Port of Portland, but if we’re serious about climate change maybe that’s what has to happen. And again, he emphasized, this isn’t a secession movement.

“It’s just changing the jurisdiction of already existing states,” he opined.

I don’t know how practical the idea is, but what impressed me is the way he’s pursuing it.

No anger, no drama, just working county by county until the Oregon Legislature either listens, or just decides it’s time for an amicable divorce, in which Oregon gets to keep the cities, and Idaho gets enough pieces of Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington, and maybe even Northern California to make it the third largest state in the Union after Alaska and Texas.

“Oregon but smaller,” Ems said.

Not “us-vs-them” – just “us-without-them.”

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