By Jamie Hadden
Those of us in the greater Reno area might forget that Washoe County, while only 40 miles at its widest, extends some 200 miles to the north. Up there, beyond the Black Rock Desert, Washoe County shares a border with Lake County, Oregon. Population, around 8,000. Lake County is very large and very republican, with almost 80% of the vote in 2020 going for President Trump. Surrounding counties are similar in size, population density and political leaning.
Something interesting is going on in Lake County, and in the surrounding rural areas. They are trying to become a part of Idaho. https://www.greateridaho.org/ If successful, Washoe County will end up sharing a border not with Oregon, but with a conservative mega-state nearly the size of Texas, extending from the Pacific Ocean to Yellowstone National Park, and from the Sacramento River Valley to the US/Canada Border. That’s a lot of Freedom, right on our doorstep.
2016 Electoral Heat Map and Notional Outline of Greater Idaho
Skeptics and detractors abound. We’ve all seen this before, I know. The State of Jefferson movement comes to mind. This effort, however, might have some legs to it – the battles are already being fought, and the inches are already being won. In November 2020, enough signatures had been collected in four Oregon counties to put on the ballot a measure to compel their county commissions to discuss the idea. Two of these measures, in Union and Jefferson Counties, passed – the others failed by a small margin. Earlier this week, proponents of the effort briefed a joint committee of the Idaho State Legislature, and in May, just weeks from now, five more Oregon counties, including our neighbors in Lake County, will vote on similar measures. With the relatively low population in each of these counties, the strong conservative base, and the continued leftward drift of Portland-dominated Oregon politics, we can expect many of these efforts will be successful.
It’s not unreasonable to go where you are treated best. Our friends to the north are trying to take their land and their counties with them. Keep a close eye on these local Oregon elections next month, learn more at https://www.greateridaho.org/.
Trivia: it looks to me like Washoe County is bordered by 12 other counties. I have yet to find another county that shares a border with that many other counties; most others are bordered by four to seven other counties. Can you find any counties that share a border with 12 or more other counties? United States – Counties – MapChart