LA GRANDE — The movement to redraw state lines to move most of Oregon into Idaho continues to strike out in Union County.
Union County Clerk Robin Church said she rejected for the third time a petition from Michael McCarter of La Pine seeking to create the new state of Greater Idaho using most of Oregon, including Union County.
McCarter attempted to file a petition last week to require the county board of commissioners to "meet on the second Wednesday of every April, August and December to promote the interest of Union County in the relocation of Idaho state borders" irrespective of any other board meeting dates.
Church said that requirement caused the rejection.
"The initiative petition process is legislative not administrative," she said.
She also said county counsel Wyatt Baum agreed with her assessment to reject the petition.
"So there is no petition," Church said.
McCarter seeks to create a new state of Greater Idaho, which would encompass Oregon counties east of the Cascade Mountains and counties throughout Southern Oregon.
"The county itself cannot negotiate the issue, so they need to take it to the state," McCarter said.
McCarter said he is seeking support from each county. He has filed petitions and written letters to county commissioners individually in the hopes of getting the idea onto the ballot. He said responses from other commissioners have occurred and often involve additional questions, some of which McCarter has not been able to answer and is hoping the commissioners can answer themselves.
"At the very least it is opening up a dialogue," McCarter said.
The support from communities have been mixed.
McCarter said the Facebook group page Greater Idaho — Move Oregon's Border has nearly 9,000 members in support of the state-line reconfiguration. On Elgin Oregon News Facebook page, however, the comment section on a post from local Grant Darrow about the petition garnered more negative comments arguing against the idea.
McCarter said the idea to move the border stems from the Legislature's and governor's attitude toward rural Oregon. He said the corporate and carbon taxes show the government does not care as much about those on fixed incomes in the eastern and southern areas of the state.
McCarter said a rewrite and refile of the petition is a possibility at this point. The deadline to file petitions is Aug. 5.
"The primary goal right now is to get it on the ballot," he said. "Then let the people speak. They have a voice."
Unlike in some sports and law enforcement, Church said there is no three strikes and you’re out when it comes to petitions.
"They get to do it as often as they need to," she said.