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Think Out Loud

Bills Could Lead To Damascus Disincorporation

City of Damascus sign.

City of Damascus sign.

Michael Clapp/OPB

A slate of bills passed by the Oregon Legislature could make it easier for one of the state’s newest cities to go back to being an unincorporated part of Clackamas County. Damascus officially became a city in 2004. But in 2013 — less than 10 years later — residents voted on disincorporation. The majority of voters were for the idea, but because the election failed to draw a majority of voters, the measure failed.

A bill headed to the governor’s desk would remove the requirement that more than 50 percent of residents participate in order for a disincorporation measure to pass specifically in Damascus. Two other bills would affect how the city’s funds would be redistributed in the event of disincorporation and allows some individuals to withdraw from the city regardless of how the disincorporation vote goes.

We talk with Chris Hawes from the Citizens Committee for Disincorporation and Damascus planning commission chair Mark Fitz about what the new state legislation will mean for the city’s future.

damascus rural urban growth boundary land use politics economy

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