The Clackamas County city of Damascus is no more. And pretty soon, taxpayers in the former city will have the refunds to prove it.
Turning the rolling hills of Damascus into a city was never a hugely popular idea locally. Voters approved forming a city in 2003 so that the community could maintain autonomy as it came within the Portland area’s urban growth boundary.
For much of the city’s brief history, conflict reigned as locals disagreed over how the city should grow. Damascus voters dissolved the city two years ago.
And soon, the government coffers will be officially empty, as one of the last steps of unraveling the city governance structure.
For a city governing only 11,000 people, Damascus had a significant amount of money in the bank. That’s in part because Damascus voters approved government spending limits in 2012 that didn’t limit how much tax was collected from property owners.
When Damascus disincorporated in 2016, it had nearly $8.4 million on hand. Under a law passed in the 2015 Oregon legislative session, much of that was set aside for looming bills – like road maintenance and the cost of shifting staff back to Clackamas County.
County officials said there’s more than $3.7 million left to return to property tax payers, starting next month.