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Damascus Votes To Dissolve, Still Faces Court Challenge


The city of Damascus voted by more than a two-to-one margin to disincorporate in Tuesday’s primary election.

It’s the second time the small Clackamas County city has voted to dissolve.

City of Damascus sign

City of Damascus sign

Michael Clapp/OPB

The first time, the turnout fell short. Last year, state legislators lowered the bar for Damascus, and Tuesday, voters cleared it. But this time, the vote faces a court challenge over the measure’s constitutionality.

Leader of the disincorporation effort, Chris Hawes, predicts Damascus will soon be no more.

“I think realistically, it’s a dead city walking at this point,” Hawes said. “Everything that’s happened in Damascus and disincorporation, you never say never. But I feel pretty confident that ultimately the judge will see that the people of Damascus have voted overwhelmingly, that they don’t want to have a city any more.”  

Clackamas County Judge Katherine Weber said she could rule on the constitutional challenge Wednesday.

Damascus has struggled as a city since it incorporated in 2004. There were conflicts between the city council and staff, and the city was never able to enact a state-required growth plan.

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