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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Should Oregon Secede? Initiative Seeks To Ask Oregon Voters That Question

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
File photo of the Oregon Pioneer sculpture that sits atop the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Oregonians could be voting in two years on whether they want to remain a part of the United States. Sponsors of an initiative petition called the Oregon Secession Act submitted the initial paperwork just after Tuesday's election results became known.

Portland writer Chris Trejbal is one of the initiative's sponsors. He said it's been something he's thought about for a while, but he called Donald Trump's election "the final straw."

So less than 24 hours after Trump's victory, he submitted paperwork to the Oregon Secretary of State's office for an initiative that would appear on the 2018 ballot.

"It's an open question for us,” Trejbal said. “Is there really a place for Oregon in the United States anymore? Can our values fit with everyone else's values? And we wanted to start that conversation."

There's no clear legal path for a state to secede from the union, but Trejbal's initiative would require the governor and state lawmakers to actively pursue the option. It also floats the possibility that Oregon could create a new nation with other likeminded states such as California and Washington.

Secession has long been discussed in California, and backers there renewed their push this week for an eventual ballot measure. In 2012, some people upset with the re-election of Barack Obama mounted efforts to secede on the White House's citizen petition website.

Needless to say, none of those were successful.