Elections | local | Politics

Supporters: Not Enough Votes To Dismantle Damascus

OPB | Nov. 5, 2013 8:27 p.m. | Updated: Nov. 6, 2013 1:37 p.m. | Damascus, Oregon

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Update 7 a.m., Nov. 6:

Clackamas County Elections site

YES    2,873    63.5%
NO    1,653    36.5%

Turnout

Total Registered Voters    6,879   
Total Ballots Cast    4,645    67.52%


Damascus voters were calling for the city to disincorporate by a 2-to-1 margin, according to election results from Clackamas County. But the effort was falling short of the raw vote total it needed.

Disincorporating a city requires getting more than 50-percent of all the registered voters on your side — not just 50 percent of participating voters.

By Wednesday, the disincorporation effort was falling short of the vote total it needed to meet that threshold.

Supporters in a news release said they didn’t have the votes to dissolve the city.

“The Citizens Committee for Disincorporation wishes to announce that the Clackamas County Election Office reports insufficient votes were received to reach the 50 percent +1 of registered voters needed to disincorporate the City of Damascus.  In spite of an overwhelming majority of the votes cast, we were unable to satisfy the unique requirement state statute places on a disincorporation measure.”

Final, unofficial results showed the vote was about 64-36, with nearly 2,900 yes votes. But the measure needed more than 3,400 votes to pass.

Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett said he was “fairly confident” there’d still be a city to run in the morning.

Spinnett said “I think it’s time now to heal, to move on as a city, assuming that the current trend holds - to put our differences behind us, come up with constructive ideas, and just move forward.”

Disincorporation advocate, Chris Hawes suggests that the election still sends a compelling message to Damascus leaders.

Hawes said, “They have without a doubt received a serious vote of no confidence, and my suggestion to them is that they all resign.”

Mayor Spinnett says he believes people are frustrated because the city hasn’t finalized a growth plan - something that the city has had on its “to do” list since it incorporated nine years ago, in the wake of being brought into the urban growth boundary. During the disincorporation campaign, Chris Hawes argued that disagreement over that plan was tearing apart the community.

Mayor Spinnett says it was Hawes’ campaign to dissolve the city that’s been damaging.

He explained, “They’ve used three slogans - it’s really ‘stop the dysfunction, waste, and lies’ and they kept repeating that over and over again, and I feel that to a degree, that has affected the community.”

Spinnett says Damascus voters should focus on the next election, when he expects dueling growth proposals on the ballot.

The AP contributed to this report.

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