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Petition wants Oregon, other states to secede and form their own country

Petition wants Oregon, other states to secede and form their own country (KATU photo)

The Secretary of State's office in Oregon had a new proposal in its inbox Thursday morning that reflects a general dissatisfaction with the political landscape right now. A petition wants Oregon -- and any other state that wants to join -- to secede from the United States and form a new country.

Here's a crucial excerpt:

  • Section 1 The Governor and Legislature shall actively pursue Oregon’s peaceful secession from the United State of America. They shall seek secession alone or in conjunction with other states and Canadian provinces that seek to form a new nation, including but not limited to California, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska and British Columbia.

Two Portland residents, Christian Trejbal and Jennifer Rollins, filed the petition Thursday morning, the office's website shows.

The petitioners' reasoning includes many grievances against the federal government's management of Oregon's resources and concerns, but also points to a lack of Oregon's political alignment with the general population in the United States. Oregon has been a steadfast blue state since the mid-1980s, led by Portland and the I-5 corridor. Oregon is one of only a handful of states where democrats control the state legislature and governorship.

"Equality is not a value that a lot of states hold," said Trejbal, in an interview with KATU News. "There is bigotry out there against minorities, people of color, against immigrants, against the LGBTQ community."

There was no specific mention of the election of Donald Trump as a factor, but the filing's timing is likely a good indicator. Just yesterday, some Californians expressed a similar sentiment in reaction to the presidential election results. In Portland, there's been widespread protesting on the nights following the election. Another anti-Trump protest is scheduled for Thursday night.

"Part of it is a response to the election and part of it is we wanted to move quickly while there is passion out there and people are willing to entertain this idea," said Trejbal.

State secession wouldn't be easy. Though the U.S. Constitution provides protocol for new states joining the Union, there's nothing in the document that involves a state wanting to leave it. A constitutional amendment could provide a pathway. In that case, a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress would have to approve the amendment. Three-fourths of all state legislatures would then have to sign off. Secession seekers could also seek a "Convention of States." Two-thirds of the delegates to that convention would have to approve secession. But three-fourths of all state legislatures would still have to approve the idea.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened, not by a long shot. There's a long history in Oregon of secession and independence talks, centered recently around the Cascadia movement and the State of Jefferson movement, which includes southwestern Oregon and much of northern California.

Related, perhaps, is the "Brexit" movement, in which the United Kingdom voted to pass a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Many this election cycle (including Trump himself) have dubbed the President-elect as "Mr. Brexit" for the similar elements between the issue and his campaign. Members of the "Brexit" movement have supported him throughout, and congratulated his victory Tuesday.

You can read the Thursday secession filing here, and full proposal here.

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