Crazy stuff keeps coming….
Left vs the Right out West….
Political divisions in Oregon can to a great degree be measured by a river, the Deschutes, which winds its snaky, circuitous way through the state’s midsection. The river divides the high prairies of the eastern half — agricultural and politically conservative, largely — from the wetter, woodier western half, which has long been more populated and more liberal.
The statewide shutdown orders that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic last year deepened those divisions, crippling businesses at a time when some rural counties had few cases. The protests and riots over race and police conduct in Portland, the state’s largest city, widened the gap further still, and the defeat of former President Donald J. Trump, who won most counties but still lost the state by a big margin after President Biden’s strong showing in the cities, capped off a litany of frustrations.
This week, all of that led thousands of east-bank residents to a single resonant but highly improbable word: secession. A majority of residents in five eastern counties said in nonbinding votes that they would like to leave Oregon and join with their more like-minded conservative neighbors further east in Idaho.
“Those of us in rural Oregon are written off,” said Mike McCarter, a retired agricultural nursery owner who has led the secession drive….
The “Greater Idaho” movement that spurred the special election vote on Tuesday has also been simmering for years, but it has picked up steam amid the growing political polarization that accompanied the November presidential election and the fractious debates over government response to the pandemic.
Voters in two other counties, Union and Jefferson, voted last fall to address the question of a border change, a process that will begin with public meetings in the counties, with one set for June….