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Damascus group files disincorporation petition

Damascus residents may be asked next year if they wish to remain a city.

A petition for a disincorporation initiative was filed Dec. 6 by Wally Bothum and George Samaan. The initiative would appear on the November 2013 ballot. The petitioners say that since incorporating in 2004, Damascus has made little movement forward and citizens are reluctant to fund a city that isn’t offering them benefits.

“We voted to incorporate based on the information we had at the time,” said Chris Hawes, a communication director for the citizens group. “We want to give people a chance to revisit this decision.”

Hawes referenced Damascus’ inclusion in the Metro urban growth boundary as a failed experiment that needed a check back point.

If the initiative is successful, within 60 days of the November election the city of Damascus no longer would function or exist as a city. All properties within the current city limits of Damascus would return to Clackamas County’s jurisdiction, and disincorporation would eliminate the authorized tax base of $3.88 per $1,000 of assessed value on all properties within city limits.

Mayor Steve Spinnett said he didn’t understand why the group wanted to disincorporate, but thought the citizens ought to be able to speak about it.

“The same reasons we incorporated are reasons that stand today,” Spinnett said. “Why disincorporate now? We will lose our local voice.”

Spinnett said he was concerned that if the city disincorporated, eventually it might want to incorporate again and would have to create a new charter.



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