AS WRITTEN BY CHRIS LIEDLE, KATU NEWS & JADE MCDOWELL, EAST OREGONIAN:

Residents in eastern Oregon and Washington have discussed breaking away from their more liberal neighbors to form a new state for years, but a new twist has been added to the conversation: Why form a new state when the rural counties could just join Idaho instead?

An Oregon representative is expected to pitch the idea to state lawmakers during the current legislative session.

Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, said during his freshman year in the Oregon state Legislature in 2001 he tried to introduce the idea of creating a state of Eastern Oregon, but couldn’t even get a hearing on it.

“Our citizens are hurting,” Smith said to KATU’s Chris Liedle……… CONTINUE HERE