It’s a rocky time for the city of Damascus. Hopes of creating a vibrant town that maintains a strong rural identity have been challenged in the face of inadequate infrastructure, voter rejection of a city master plan, subsequent project defunding by ODOT and a dysfunctional city government. On Monday, 15 volunteer city committee members resigned after the city council forced city manager Greg Baker to resign during a closed executive meeting in late May.
As has become the norm at Damascus city council meetings, tension was high and the language was fraught. Mara Stine, a reporter at the Gresham Outlook quoted one volunteer as saying to the council, “You have brought shame, embarrassment and ridicule to the city.” Baker’s resignation came with a $321,460 payment, and an agreement that Baker would not sue the city over accusations the mayor had made about him. A petition is now circulating to recall the mayor and council president.
The troubles in town hall aren’t the only issues facing the city. In December, a disincorporation process was started and a petition is gathering signatures to end the nine year attempt to turn Damascus into a functioning city.
Do you live in Damascus? Has the city experiment affected you? Is it time for the city to disincorporate?